Former White Rock residents write to express appreciation for community response in wake of Five Corners fire.

Former White Rock residents write to express appreciation for community response in wake of Five Corners fire.

LETTERS: Area’s driving force appreciated

Editor:

Re: Hogg rejects sixth term for local focus, Oct. 5.

Editor:

Re: Hogg rejects sixth term for local focus, Oct. 5.

On May 15, our lives were forever changed by the Ocean Ridge condo fire (Five Corners up in flames, May 18). Like all of the other evacuees, my husband and I were overwhelmed by the support of the community and took advantage of free meals, toiletries, clothing and other offerings to get us through the most difficult few months of our married lives.

We moved to White Rock from Ontario in 2014 when my husband was transferred there for work. We fell in love with the beauty of B.C. and the oceanside town.

The only thing we were missing was the support of having our family and friends close by. That was never more apparent than when we – just the two of us – were moving all of our damaged belongings out of our condo and off to the dump, or spending hours on the phone to insurance, arranging for our flooded car to be towed out of our parking garage.

Of course, there were a few key players in our experience that helped us get through such a rough time. The victims-services team was diligent and worked so hard to get us on our feet in the first 12 hours after the incident. Soon after that, we were taken in by coworkers who provided us places to stay and meals to eat, despite knowing them only for a short time.

Our landlords, who have always been great, treated us like family through the whole ordeal and always put us first, even though they will have to deal with the aftermath long after us.

I also have to mention the Surrey-White Rock MLA’s office. After reading that Gordon Hogg will be retiring after this term, I wanted to make sure everyone knows what an impact he, his family and his staff had on us.

We lost our only vehicle in the fire. And although we had a great insurance policy, we did not have loss-of-use coverage. This means renting a car for several days while our vehicle gets out of the garage and over to the assessment facility, a cost that adds up quickly.

Although I spent a lot of time on transit, my husband had no way of getting to his work without a car, not to mention no way to run the hundreds of errands you have to when your home burns down.

Within two days of the fire, we received a call from his office from his assistant, Verna, saying she heard we were in need of a vehicle. The next day, we were the proud drivers of Hogg’s Toyota Camry. It felt like a BMW to us.

We drove the car for about three weeks while everything got sorted with insurance and vehicle replacement, and when we returned the car we were warmly welcomed into the Hogg home for a cup of tea.

It was a truly touching gesture.

In the end, after long consideration and failed attempts to find pet-friendly housing, my husband and I decided that it was better for us to move home to Toronto, but we miss the great city of White Rock and the amazing generosity and compassion of all of the people who have helped us and the other residents of Ocean Ridge.

Thanks for the memories, White Rock!

Tamara & Glen Messacar, Toronto