(Photo by BLACK PRESS)

Hard-working Abbotsford pharmacy staff complete incredible feat to help wildfire evacuees

‘We couldn’t believe we really just did this in one night,’ says pharmacy owner

As the fires raged through the southern half of the province this August, there were teams of workers moving long-term care residents from place to place.

Many of those residents ended up in the Fraser Valley, including Abbotsford. One local home took in 36 residents, and on extremely short notice.

Elke Groening, a co-owner of Apex Pharmacy, said it can take at least a few weeks to prepare for an influx of that many people.

You’ve probably never heard of Apex Pharmacy. They fill prescriptions solely for long-term care and assisted living homes, so they don’t have customers walking through the door.

But if you could have seen them working to fill those prescriptions, Groening says, you’d be impressed.

“It truly was a team effort in a time of emergency,” she says.

One of the homes they work with had just built a new building, creating plenty of space for extra beds. They heard some residents could be coming in on a Monday, and got the word Tuesday.

The pharmacy team went full throttle, working through the day and night to ensure both their existing residents and the ones being transported down from the Okanagan would have seamless prescription services. They worked with Interior Health employees, physicians, and the transport team to get every prescription filled.

“I told my staff, ‘we need to jump in and this is something we just have to do for these wildfire evacuees,” she said. “Everybody stayed late at the pharmacy, they stayed late into the evening.”

She feels her staff went above and beyond, and remained professional throughout.

“They were just amazing. We couldn’t believe we really just did this in one night,” Groening adds. “We just buckled down and got it done.”

And when it was all done, they even personally delivered the prescriptions to the home, as it was past their delivery service’s hours.

B.C. Wildfires 2021HealthNews