© Submitted photo
Vernon River fire chief Allister Veinot accepts a $1,000 cheque to the department from local resident John Doran and Craig Cooper of Co-operator’s Insurance.
VERNON RIVER — When John Doran woke up one morning to find the barn had caved in from the weight of snow he called for help.
Inside the 100-foot pole barn were 40 head of cattle trapped in the debris and wreckage and he was worried about his animals.
“It was 7 a.m. and I couldn’t do it by myself, but I felt very fortunate when everyone arrived,’’ he said this week from his home.
When he saw the Vernon River Fire Department arrive that morning with about a dozen volunteers he breathed easy.
“It was a risky emergency trying to get inside, but they did an excellent job and saved the animals ... in fact, one cow had given birth during the night and the baby calf came running out once its momma got free.”
The barn collapsed on Dec. 30 after rains pounded down on the heavy snow and the roof just gave way. But unlike his home and other buildings, the barn wasn’t insured.
“I figured a thank you card to the volunteer members just wasn’t going to cut it.”
So he called up Co-operator’s Insurance (armed with a 40-year business relationship) and suggested a cash donation might be worthwhile.
“They thought it was a good idea and got approval from their head office,’’ said Doran. “I was hoping for a couple of hundred bucks of something.”
Instead, Cooperator’s representatives arrived at the fire hall here last week to present Fire Chief Allister Veinot with a cheque for $1,000.
“It was extremely generous of them to donate that kind of money,’’ said Doran. “And it speaks well of them.”
The animals were spared serious injury thanks to a wooden feeder that ran the centre of the barn. The collapsed rafters and steel roof came to rest against that feeder instead of crashing to the floor of the structure.
“Ordinarily the animals would have been outside for the night but with the rain they gathered inside.”
A Co-operator’s rep said the company thought it was a fitting recognition of the volunteer fire department and a long-time loyal customer.