CANYON CITY – Lake Creek Camp, with its lodge, A-frame cabins and beautiful surroundings, is known as a cozy retreat for large gatherings, but it’s not every day the hosts at the camp welcome 150 Oregon National Guardsmen.
The troops stayed at the camp Aug. 25-Sept. 5, not for a relaxing vacation, but to battle the Canyon Creek Complex fire, the destructive blaze which grew to over 110,000 acres last month.
Members of the Lake Creek Camp board of directors said they were impressed with their military guests.
“We thoroughly respect everything they represent,” said board president John Bastian whose wife, Lindy, is also a board member. “We’re glad we had the facilities for them.”
He said some of them enjoyed their stay so much, they plan to come back and bring their families.
John said the fire was two to three miles away, and they’re fortunate there are still green trees at the camp.
Full-time camp volunteer Roger Lang said he and his wife Sharon, who is a board member, were also pleased with the Guard.
“The whole unit was very professional, they left the grounds in better shape than when they got there,” Roger said.
He said some Guardsmen ran the camp and worked on any equipment that needed repaired while others fought the fire.
“These are guys who’ve been in Afghanistan, and now they’re helping us,” he said.
The National Guardsmen, in turn, thanked Lake Creek Camp, presenting board members with a plaque to show their appreciation before they left.
There were “150 of them lined up there, standing at attention,” Bastian said. “They gave the award and applauded. That was quite a thrill for us. I have a lot of respect for them – men and women.”
The award reads: “To Lake Creek Youth Camp for outstanding service and dedication to the men and women of the Oregon Army National Guard Task Force One – Canyon Creek Fire 2015.”
Stephen Bomar, Oregon Military Department Director of Public Affairs, said the National Guard is pleased to help, whether at home or abroad.
He summed it up, saying, “The Citizen-Soldiers of the Oregon Army National Guard continue to train and prepare for disaster response and overseas contingencies. The National Guard is well suited to accomplish our dual-mission of supporting our state and nation. Our soldiers are the neighbors, co-workers and friends of Oregonians across the state and proud to answer the call for help here at home.”