South Delta Secondary teacher Jennifer Thoss is helping her carpenter friend Pierre Quevillon rebuild his tool collection after he lost everything, including his two beloved dogs, to the Lytton wildfire.
“He’s a very unselfish person and he’s done a lot for others … he’s a hard, hard worker and he always goes way beyond the call of duty,” she says.
After posting in the Tsawwassen Loop Facebook group on July 6, Thoss says her phone hasn’t stopped blowing up with the generosity of people dedicated to either donating or purchasing new tools for Quevillon, who intends to help rebuild Lytton.
On Thursday (July 8), the carpenter came to Tsawwassen to pick up the generous donations, as well as to shop at the businesses who have offered gift cards to purchase new tools, including Wesgrove Homes, Dunbar Lumber and Task Tools.
“A big thank you to everyone,” says Quevillon. “Now I’ll be ready. Let’s go. Let’s rebuild.”
Quevillon plans to start working on Lytton’s Pine Motel when he returns, as this is where residents and firefighters are staying currently.
Both Thoss and Quevillon can’t get over how generous people were, and though the carpenter lost everything, he says that these tools will give him a way to get started again.
Any extra or overlapping donated tools will be brought to and used by other builders and trades people in Lytton.
“I’m thrilled with the response, but I’m also still very concerned about other people,” says Thoss.
“He’s laser-focused on rebuilding the town, and helping by doing whatever he can, so I feel like [these donations] are not just helping him get on his feet, it’s helping the whole town.”
Meanwhile, when Corina Bye found out that her dear friend and colleague had been affected by the Lytton wildfire, she knew she had to act quickly.
And so, she created a GoFundMe to help her fellow Birth Keeper sister, Nicole Williams, whose family had to flee with nothing but the clothes they were wearing.
“When tragedy strikes, you need things now,” says Bye, who is an allied member of the Indigenous-led Kili’la Birth Keeper Collective and lives on the unceded traditional territories of the Katzie, Kwantlen, Semiahmoo and Tsawwassen First Nation in North Delta.
“My daughter was at her dad’s house in Lytton … she had arrived the day before [the fires] and was going to be there for the week,” says Williams, who is from Nlaka’pamux’ and lives on Secwepemc territory in Kamloops.
She found out from a Facebook post that the community was on fire, and when she couldn’t get hold of her daughter’s father or any other family in the area, she got in her car and drove to go find them.
“I got there, and it was black smoke … by then, I had heard from all of my family and extended family, so I knew everyone was okay at that point of reaching Spences Bridge,” says Williams.
The GoFundMe is going toward helping Williams and her family, who are also sharing that financial support outwards to other community members who need help.
“To the 34 people who have donated on the GoFundMe, those funds are super appreciated, and they’re in way better hands with Nicole working with her beloveds than in, you know, a government fund that takes 30 days to access,” says Bye.