Barriere and District Hospice Society (BDHS) was created is 1993 with the help of Jane Milburn, and 27 years later she still volunteers many hours each week to the society.
“There’s a lot of satisfaction in helping someone that needs help,” she said.
While hospice services are a part of the BDHS, Milburn said it’s not their only focus as there can be many in a small town such as Barriere that don’t need end-of-life assistance, but do require help with getting groceries and medications, trips to various appointments and grief support.
The COVID-19 pandemic has put a stick in the spokes of the BDHS services, but Milburn said the society’s “Loan Cupboard” of medical supplies is still going strong. The program supplies various equipment such as wheelchairs and walkers that can be loaned out as they are needed.
She said the society and a program like this are very important in a small town like Barriere. The town is too small and too close to Kamloops for a hospice house. Not to mention the costs of operations and salaries.
And there’s also the added benefit of someone getting help while in their own home.
“Some people do have family and neighbours that help, but some don’t,” said Milburn. “Especially with the loan cupboard…some just can’t afford to buy it.”
She also has been a support on the North Thompson Fall Fair and Rodeo board of directors. When asked how she would describe the work she does on the board, she said she does whatever she can.
“I try and help Jill (Hayward) with things that she can brush off to me…and I look after the garden,” said Milburn. “Whatever the need is, I do it, if I can.”
The NTFFR brings in thousands of people to Barriere every year and is a big economic driver for the community. The board is currently selling 50/50 tickets for next years’ event as the 2020 gathering was cancelled, due to COVID-19.
Milburn tells that the group is getting a plan in the works to bring a bit of fun to the district, with Covid protocols in place, in the form of a one day drive-thru style event, showcasing some of the highlights of the annual fall fair. The event is being planned to take place over the Labour Day Weekend on Saturday, Sept. 5
“The Laughing Loggers will be there, the light horse arena will be full, the entertainment stage will be full — so we’re doing what we can,” said Milburn. “It’s not 100% planned, yet, but we’re working on it.”
Having been born and raised in Barriere, Milburn said the NTFFR has always been a part of her life, which is a major driver in why she continues to give back year after year.
“I’ve always been interested in agriculture and the fair,” she said. “I’d been involved with the fair as an exhibitor when I was a kid and just grew up with it.”
Milburn says giving back by volunteering is rewarding in itself.
“Both Hospice and the Fair appreciate big or small amounts of time from those lending a helping hand by volunteering,” said Milburn, “Even just half-an-hour can make a big difference.”
If you would like to learn more about the Barriere Hospice Society or the North Thompson Fall Fair and Rodeo Association please call Jane Milburn at 250-672-9391.