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Fort Mac evacuee pays tribute to first responders

Bonavista man’s RV is a graphic reminder


Published on June 21, 2017

The Bonavista Volunteer Firefighters with Len Little’s RV tribute to first responders. From left, firefighters Matt Hobbs, Ryan Butler, Allister Fisher, Mark Batterton, Fire Chief Keith Pardy and Corey Whiffen; and Deputy Chief Perry Ayles, Lucas Tremblett, Stephen Pardy, Stephen Randell, Steven Abbott, Len Little, and Cliff Tremblett.

©Contributed photo

BONAVISTA, N.L. — If you’re driving down the highway over the next few weeks, you may happen upon a trailer bearing the striking image of a firefighter reaching towards you through billowing smoke.

The remarkable graphic is actually a way of saying ‘thank you’ to the first responders of Fort Mac.

Just over a year ago, Len Little, along with his family, was one of the evacuees fleeing their homes in Fort McMurray due to the wildfires, which burned through the Alberta city.

So, Little — a Bonavista native — is paying tribute to the first responders who helped keep so many residents safe in Fort Mac, and around the world, on a daily basis.

He says he’s been thinking about doing something to recognize the firefighters ever since the fires in May of last year.

Auto Trim Designs in St. John’s put the wrap on the camper.
Contributed photo

Little told The Packet he had an image saved on his phone, which held an important meaning for him. The graphic featured a firefighter reaching through smoke. It read, “Taming The Beast, Thanks to all First Responders, May 2016.”

“That’s a powerful picture,” Little told The Packet.

 

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At first, he wanted to have the image airbrushed onto his new camper, but after some research he decided to have a wrap decal bearing the graphic put on the back of the RV.

On Monday, June 19, he had the wrap applied at Auto Trim Designs in St. John’s.

Before having the wrap done, Little says he was unfamiliar with the process. While the workers at Auto Trim wanted the unveiling to be a surprise, Little was able to gather the decal is applied much like wallpaper.

“It’s almost like putting up wallpaper, only it’s durable — you can pressure wash it and stuff like that,” he explained.

He only bought the camper as he left Fort McMurray last year. It was a contingency plan. He was planning on buying a new one anyway and the circumstances of the fire warranted him getting one then.

He drove his truck and new camper home last June and is now picking it up to take back to Alberta.

Little says he hopes many people see the tribute, as he gets ready to tow the trailer back to his home in Fort Mac.

He expects many will see the design on his journey between Newfoundland and Alberta.

And he’s already been in contact with a Fort Mac firefighter originally from Bonavista named Dwayne Norman.

“I sent him the pictures and when they have their next meeting he’s going to show the rest of his fire crew.”

Before his departure from Bonavista, however, he was sure to include the Bonavista Volunteer Fire Department, as he arranged to have a photo taken with the trailer at the fire hall with the local firefighters.

“It’s a recognition of first responders and firefighters, obviously for the ones in Fort McMurray, but if you take our firefighters — in Newfoundland and Labrador especially — most of them are volunteers.

“When they get a call to go out, they’re pretty much putting their life on the line.”

 

Twitter: @jejparsons