There’s no pencilling in a date for when someone needs saving on the side of a mountain.
That often bleary-eyed reality is reflected in a comic panel, one of 12 in a new calendar that honours the critical work done by North Shore Rescue, with all proceeds from sales going to the team.
“It’s Mike Danks,” reads the comic. “He says that if you’re not doing anything, would you mind strapping on a 50-pound pack, climbing to the top of Mount Seymour in the rain and rescuing a couple of stranded hikers?”
The illustration, drawn by prolific cartoonist Graham Harrop, pictures the reversed scenario of someone other than NSR team leader Danks having to get out of bed at some ungodly hour to make a rescue.
“That’s the reality of what we’re actually dealing with,” Danks said. “Because more often than not, it’s either when you’re dead asleep, or you’re sitting down to dinner with your family, and then a call comes in.”
Other panels satirize various aspects of the work that NSR does.
One shows two skiers carving “HELP” into a snowy slope. “If you have any more room, write: ‘Sorry we skied out of bounds and please send North Shore Rescue.”
Some are just plain satire. A comic shows a female customer holding up a T-shirt with the text “MY WIFE TOLD ME TO GET LOST AND I DID,” with the vendor saying, “I donate all the proceeds from that one to the North Shore Rescue.”
Danks said the calendar is a nice balance of getting his team’s safety message out there and providing some humour at the same time.
“Each one of them resonates with us and tells a bit of a story, for sure,” he said.
Another positive force the calendar provides is a source of revenue for the organization, which depends on community funding to operate. Danks said the release of the calendar comes at a time when donations have been down for the past while.
“We could really use the boost, especially with the approval of night hoisting,” he said, referencing approval that came in October after months of silence from the province. “It’s a costly venture, but we know it’s one that will make a very positive difference, not only for the safety of our members, but for the community as a whole.”
Danks said it’s an honour to work with Harrop, who has tipped his hat to NSR in past cartoons.
“I did an editorial cartoon for The Vancouver Sun that gave credit to NSR,” Harrop said. “Tim Jones, who was then head of the team, got in touch and he came up with the idea of a calendar. Sadly, Tim died, but the idea lived on.”
Twice, NSR has rescued him from his hide-a-bed, Harrop said, stating that the 12-month collection is a humorous take on the critical work done by the team.
“Living on the North Shore makes you more aware of what NSR volunteers do,” he said. “Cartoon ideas came from news stories and including the bears gave rise to humorous situations. The cartoon of the bear promising not to root through the garbage echoes my concern for our North Shore bruins.”
Harrop said he hopes the calendar gives people a laugh and builds support for the team's vital work, with 100 per cent of proceeds going to the society.
You can buy the calendar for US$19.95 (around $27) via ArtWanted.com.