This fire truck along with three Courtenay fire fighters are heading to Mexico to assist fire departments near Puerto Vallarta. Photo submitted

Courtenay firefighters heading to Mexico to assist peers

Last year, Comox paramedic Ryan Thorburn made a lasting impression on a group of firefighters near Puerto Vallarta, with the donation of an ambulance.

This year, he left a lasting impression on Courtenay firefighters reaching out to help those in the Mexican city.

As a result of Thorburn’s actions the past few years assisting a fire department just south of the resort area, three Courtenay firefighters – Greg Lamb, Tanner Wilson and Kyle Lamb – are undertaking a delivery of their own.

“We have a truck that is 10 years old that is up for a replacement,” explained Capt. Greg Lamb. “It came up for bid through the City, and Ryan bought it with his own money, and asked if we wanted to take it down.”

The 2008 fire rescue command truck will take 30 sets of gear down to Colomos, Mexico to be used to service its mountaintop community – about 45 outside of the resort community, which doesn’t see a lot of the tourist money to assist with its department, explained Lamb.

“Just getting there and getting wheels on the ground is a struggle. They have a lack of transport, and have used just coats and jeans to wear (when responding to a call). We are so lucky in North America to have the proper equipment.”

Lamb said he considers Puerto Vallarta to be an unofficial bedroom community of the Comox Valley, as many Canadians and locals spend large amounts of time in the area, particularly with a direct flight from the Comox Valley Airport.

Last year, Thorburn spent time with some firefighters to assist with training in Bucerias. One of the volunteer firefighters told Thorburn because of the lack of equipment, first responders usually arrive at an accident without the ability to assist, and comfort and pray with the patients until they die.

The trio is set to leave in November to begin their delivery and will stop in Tacoma, Washington to load equipment from the warehouses of Firefighters Crossing Boarders.

Their goal is to fundraise between $5,000 to $6,000; funds will be used to pay Thorburn back for the truck, and for gas and travel expenses.

There is a GoFundMe page set up for online donations (gofundme.com/CanadatoMexicoFireTruck), and the trio will also be accepting donations in person on Oct. 14 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Thrifty Foods location at Crown Isle, Oct. 21 from 10 a.m. to noon at Superstore on Ryan Road and Oct. 28 at Thrifty Foods on Cliffe Ave.

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