Local first responders recently turned what could have been a disastrous vacation into a shining example of West Coast hospitality.
Virginia couple Adam and Rhonda Fried have donated $3,000 to the West Coast’s emergency response efforts that rescued Rhonda after a nasty fall near Wya Point on June 19.
The Frieds had planned their Tofitian vacation months in advance and signed up for guided tours of West Coast trails. Adam told the Westerly News their trail guide was enthusiastic and “full of energy” but led them down some particularly rough terrain near Wya Point where Rhonda lost her footing and crashed into the brush breaking four bones in her ankle and foot.
He said local emergency responders were on the scene quickly to carry Rhonda to safety.
“It wasn’t that long a distance but it was really rugged and they had to put her on the board and carry her out,” he said. “It was overwhelming the amount of people that had to mobilize to do this…There was a lot of people and it was really great the way they did it.”
He said about 20 responders helped out at the scene and conversations with them led him to believe they could use some funding help.
“I felt that that was just the right thing to do, to help these people out,” Adam said of the $3,000 donation. “I felt the people that make decisions in your community are collaborative and they would do the right thing with the money.”
He added the couple was thrilled with the care they received from the Tofino General Hospital where they spent the night before heading to Nanaimo for surgery the following day.
“The professionalism and the care we got was just first rate. For a remote little place like Tofino, and Nanaimo isn’t exactly a huge metropolis either, it was just incredible,” he said.
“[Rhonda] came home and the doctors here thought the surgery was great and she’s already walking around now and doing really well.”He added the situation would have been far more costly had it occurred in their American hometown.
“Healthcare costs, even with what we call ObamaCare, are crazy here,” he said. While the fall cut the couple’s vacation short, Adam said they hope to return to the area they had instantly fallen in love with.
“Just in the day or two I was there, it was spectacular,” he said adding the view from their Wickaninnish Inn lodging was breathtaking.
“Sitting there looking out at the water, you can’t describe it. It’s so unique…I love the whole ecotopia vibe.”
He added he was impressed with the friendly local atmosphere.
“Canadian people are incredibly polite and friendly. There’s an edge in America unfortunately and it feels to me like you guy’s have it all figured out,” he said.
“I would love to come back to Tofino and Ucluelet and that whole area and I hope we do someday…I’m still dreaming of Tacofino.”
The $3,000 donation will be managed by the District of Ucluelet.
“This generous donation can support the momentum for West Coast first responder and emergency organizations to work together with emergency response,” said Ucluelet’s manager of environmental and emergency services Karla Robison.
“The District of Ucluelet will ensure these funds are utilized appropriately based on a consensus from the group.”