The Tour of Honour stopped at the Castlegar Fire Department on Monday afternoon.
A volunteer from Honour House in New Westminster is touring the province to let first responders and members of the military know that they have a place to stay if they or their family members ever need to visit Metro Vancouver for medical treatment.
Honour House is a heritage home that has been renovated to allow full accessibility to all three floors. It even has an elevator. The house is open not only to firefighters, police officers, paramedics and military personnel, but also any retired member of any of those groups.
“It’s strictly used to house, short term, people in the emergency services, people in the military that run into medical issues where they [are] required to come to the Lower Mainland for treatment,” explained Chuck Puchmayr, volunteer for Honour House and a New Westminster city councillor. “So Honour House is a 9000 sq. ft. home that was purchased in the prestigious Queen’s Park neighbourhood in New Westminster.”
The house is also open to the family members of those it serves.
“It’s not only for first responders, it’s for their families, it’s for the children,” said Puchmayr. “So if their children have a malady that requires a visit to Children’s Hospital then the family — the siblings, the mother, the father — they have a place to stay free of charge — food’s included, everything.”
Since its grand opening on Nov. 10, 2010, Honour House has helped over 4000 families, and now the organization is working on setting up a PTSD facility on a ranch.
“Now we have Honour Ranch in Kamloops, which is a 25 acre property with horses, outbuildings, homes on it, and a family is turning it over to us,” said Puchmayr. “Our goal is to turn it into a full PTSD — Post Traumatic Stress Disorder — facility, and to do it within the Interior Health Authority.”
While in Castlegar, Puchmayr met with not only members of our fire department, but also with RCMP officers and paramedics, and let them know about Honour House and what it has to offer.
“A few people I met today were not aware of this at all, that the facility even existed,” said Puchmayr.
He had spent Friday and Saturday in Nelson, raising awareness there with a couple of big events, and concluded the tour on Tuesday with a stop in Osoyoos.
Those wanting to learn more about Honour House can visit honourhouse.ca.