Local volunteers travel to Italy to help survivors

Five Red Deer volunteers have crossed the ocean to help rescue people from rubble in earthquake-ravaged Italy.

Five Red Deer volunteers have crossed the ocean to help rescue people from rubble in earthquake-ravaged Italy.

The five locals, including a nurse, flew to Italy’s interior at their own expense on Tuesday. While they are members of Red Deer Search and Rescue, they are undertaking the relief effort as part of the Canadian International Rescue Organization.

“I’m extremely proud of them,” said Bev Sliger, president of Red Deer Search and Rescue and a communications officer for the international rescue organization. “They have great passion and go above and beyond at all times.”

Sliger heard early on Wednesday that brothers Marcel and Jamie Schur, Shawn Hare, Steve Dickin and Ashley Johanson had just arrived in the mountainous region northeast of Rome where an earthquake of 6.3 magnitude hit on Monday.

With 260 people dead and injured individuals still being pulled from the ruins, the five Red Deer citizens are prepared to do whatever’s needed to help out, said Sliger.

They brought with them telescopic cameras on bendable arms that can be adjusted to view around obstructions. “You can hand adjust it to see what you want to see,” said Sliger, who added these cameras help locate people buried under fallen rubble.

The Red Deer crew also brought sleeping mats, a water filtration system and army food rations so they can be self-sufficient at the disaster scene.

Sliger said the Schur brothers are formerly with the military and have thousands of hours of rescue training, as does Hare. She believes all three provided assistance during the Pine Lake Tornado. “There’s the excitement and adrenaline of it . . . and they have big hearts,” said Sliger.

Johanson, a nurse, has done international volunteer work with Doctors Without Borders, which provides medical assistance in war zones. The youngest volunteer, Dickin, in his early 20s, recently took search and rescue training in Texas.

Sliger said the volunteers usually plan to stay 14 days, but could return home sooner, depending on need.

Meanwhile, the Canadian Red Cross started an appeal for donations for the people of central Italy. “We’ve just been asked . . . to start collecting,” said branch manager Rhonda Schwab, who noted earthquake victims need clean water, food, shelter and medication.

Donations can be made at the local Red Cross office at 3030-55th Street, Red Deer, or by phone by calling 403-346-1241.

It’s not believed any local citizens have relatives in the devastated area.

lmichelin@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Castor man dies in crash

Thursday morning collision on Hwy 12

More than $25k raised for Red Deer firefighter who is recovering in hospital

‘I think the support he’s getting is because of the person he is’

Lacombe backs Blackfalds stormwater plan

Stormwater management plan will open up more land for development in Blackfalds

Two men facing charges in alleged abduction

RCMP issued alert for woman on Wednesday morning who was found safe later that day

WATCH: Two weeks away from Canadian Finals Rodeo in Red Deer

In just two weeks, Ponoka’s Shayna Weir will compete with the best… Continue reading

Jury finds Calgary couple guilty in 2013 death of toddler son

CALGARY — A jury has convicted a Calgary couple in the death… Continue reading

Study of U.S. hospital figures links pot use with increased risk of stroke

MONTREAL — New research is being presented at a conference in Montreal… Continue reading

Leon Draisaitl has overtime winner as Edmonton Oilers down Boston Bruins 3-2

EDMONTON — Connor McDavid set up Leon Draisaitl for the overtime winner… Continue reading

Edmonton girl guide sells out of cookies in front of cannabis store on first day

EDMONTON — She’s being called one smart cookie. As people lined up… Continue reading

New vacuum needed: Calgary family adopts three bonded St. Bernard buddies

EDMONTON — Three adult St. Bernards who couldn’t be separated because they’re… Continue reading

Film with Fan Bingbing, Bruce Willis cancelled after tax case

BEIJING — The director of “Air Strike,” featuring Chinese actress Fan Bingbing,… Continue reading

Michael Buble shuts down rumours of retirement from music

LOS ANGELES — Michael Buble is shutting down rumours that he’s going… Continue reading

After Canada legalizes pot, industry eyes rest of the world

MONTREAL — Cam Battley is a top executive at one of Canada’s… Continue reading

Most Read