‘Hidden heroes’ help shore up crumbling Osoyoos Lake waterline

Osoyoos Secondary students Raistoin Palmateer and Colby Kidd help Dominic Ethier load a sandbag on to a waiting trailer. The bags were delivered to a Harbour Key property.

Yes, Virginia, you can find super heroes in the community.

About 40 Osoyoos Secondary students stepped away from classroom work today to spend several hours in the sand pit, filling bags at the Hwy. boat trailer parking lot for use on flood-threatened properties.

“These are my hidden heroes,” explained teacher Amanda Girgan as the students cheerfully went about filling hundreds of sandbags.

“We’ve been doing a project in English 8 about super heroes and looking to find those qualities in ordinary people.”

She and fellow teachers Cheryl Macleod and Charlene Turnbull organized the effort to help students identify those traits within themselves.

Raistoin Palmateer puts a sandbag in place at Carol and Larry Boan’s Harbour Key property.

“We were going to search for problems they could help solve, but this one came to us,” Ms. Girgan explained. “We did this in a day — we found out yesterday — so I got all these students ready and here we are.”

The students were able to help members of the Lake Osoyoos Sailing Club — on site with trucks to collect sandbags for a lakefront property threatened by rising water — and also elderly couples living on Harbour Key Drive.

“We have a lower shed that’s right at water level,” said the sailing club’s Rupert Holmes-Smith. “And the breakwater is at risk. If the water gets up against that, it will undermine it.”

His crew offered words of appreciation to the students after their truck was filled.

On Harbour Key Drive, where sandbags were delivered and installed by the students, an appreciative Carol Boan returned from a doctor’s appointment with husband Larry to find the students hard at work in her back yard.

“It’s fantastic because my husband can’t sandbag any more,” she said. “So to have this, it just means everything to us.”

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