August 15, 2022
“You will never be forgotten:” town of Princeton thanks MDS volunteers
“I can honestly say we wouldn’t be where we are today without your help.”
Those were the words of Princeton Mayor Spencer Coyne to Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) volunteers at an August 11 thank-you celebration put on by the town.
About 50 people attended the event—MDS volunteers, homeowners and town officials—held at Princeton’s Legion Hall.
“I want to say thanks from the bottom of my heart,” he went on to say to the MDS volunteers at the event.
“You will never be forgotten. You will always be a part of our community.”
Ed Atkinson, Manager of Protective Services for Princeton, noted his first exposure to MDS was in Squamish, B.C. in 2003 when volunteers came to that town following a flood.
“I was relieved when I heard MDS was coming here, bringing the same intention and caring attitude,” he saw in Squamish, he said.
“We are very much in your debt.”
Walter Wiebe served as the first project director in Princeton. He noted MDS volunteers like him came to Princeton because “we come from a Mennonite Christian tradition where we were taught to help those who are in need,” he said.
With that in mind, “how could we not be here in Princeton?” he asked.
Wiebe went on to praise town officials for their support for MDS, including how they provided MDS with the names of those who needed help following the devastating November 2021 flood.
Ross Penner, director of Canadian operations for MDS, acknowledged Wiebe’s key role in helping the community rebuild.
“He is a steward of the gifts God has given him,” he said. “He had the ability to take on an incredibly complex leadership role. His gifts made this project possible.”
Penner went on to thank the town for its hospitality, “for the chance to be guests in your homes.”
He concluded by noting that MDS’s work grows out of a “belief we hold dear to love our neighbours. We believe God’s love is best shown in action.”
Following the event, participants enjoyed refreshments provided by the Legion and a local resident.
Altogether, 134 people served with MDS in Princeton from December last year until mid-August, repairing 40 homes damaged by flooding.
MDS is still active in B.C., rebuilding four houses destroyed by wildfire in Monte Lake. More volunteers are needed there through fall; go here to learn more.
John Longhurst, MDS Canada Communications