Marc Thibault

Marc Thibault

Community appreciation event celebrates emergency responders

Kootenay Insurance Services' fist annual community appreciation day was a success despite sketchy weather

Jeanette Makortoff was driving home from work on January 13, 2012 when a large car coming from the opposite direction crossed the centre line and hit her head-on.

Once paramedics arrived on scene, it took them approximately 45 minutes to pry open the wreckage using the Jaws of Life and untangle Makortoff from where she was trapped amidst the brake and gas pedals.

Makortoff never saw her rescuers’ faces, and doesn’t remember anything from the accident. But on May 29 she got the opportunity to thank Jennifer Lenos and her team from the BC Ambulance Service in Castlegar at the Kootenay Insurance Services community appreciation day.

“It overwhelms me, talking about it,” said Makortoff. “Having these people coming out to help you, you don’t think you’re that important. If you never get into an accident you don’t realize you need them, but if you see them in the street you should thank them.”

Representatives from the police, fire department, search and rescue and a variety of emergency services attended the event and received awards and recognition.

“We live in a remarkable place and we share this place with a unique community. The theme of our community day is recognition,” said Hilda Jarratt, branch manager. She said their first annual event was a success, despite sketchy weather, and they’re already planning next year’s event.

“We’re already thinking next year we’re going to focus on search and rescue,” said Jennifer Jensen, a commercial accounts representative from Kootenay Insurance Services. “I’ll take a pie in the face. Bring it on.”