Letter to the Editor
As chronicled in the media, the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre sustained considerable damage due to a Feb. 4 structure fire. The shocking images of the cultural centre ablaze were very disturbing. Thankfully, no one was injured.
The outpouring of support from the community has been overwhelming. We are truly grateful for the donations of goods, services, temporary accommodation and cash we have received. People from near and far have offered assistance, support and words of encouragement.
Fundraising events are being planned over the next several months to assist us in the rebuilding effort. I would like to offer my sincere thanks to Rob Chalmers, an off-duty Kamloops firefighter who first alerted the occupants of the cultural centre and, with the assistance of our coordinator George Uyeda, led them to safety.
George continues to work tirelessly to oversee the recovery operation and is deserving of special recognition. While the extent of the damage has yet to be fully determined, it is clear the impact of the inferno was lessened considerably due to the efforts of the Kamloops Fire Rescue Service. The firefighters did an exceptional job attacking the blaze and protecting the precious archival items.
Miraculously, much of the collection of historically significant material stored in the basement escaped serious damage. Among the items saved by the quick action of firefighters was a set of taiko drums that were placed in the basement only four days prior to the blaze.
The board of directors of the Kamloops Japanese Canadian Association is resolute in its desire to overcome this tragedy and restore what was lost. Japanese Canadians are no strangers to adversity. Past struggles have forged our members’ strength of will and united them in a common purpose.
We are confident that with the support of the community, the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre will rise from the ashes to resume its position in the cultural landscape of Kamloops.
President, Kamloops Japanese