Canadian Rangers helping northern Sask. communities throughout pandemic

Canadian Ranger Master Corporal Clayton Desjarlais of the the Île-à-la-Crosse Canadian Ranger Patrol delivers fish that was freshly caught by fellow patrol members to an elder in Île-à-la-Crosse, Saskatchewan, on April 13, 2020 as part of the Patrol’s ongoing support to COVID-19 community relief efforts. (Sgt. Tanya Aramenko/Submitted)

Three Canadian Ranger Patrols are helping support northern Saskatchewan as part of the Canadian Armed Forces’ (CAF) Operation LASER in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Operation LASER is the CAF’s response to any worldwide pandemic, including COVID-19. The measures are meant to maintain the government’s operation and readiness by reducing the pandemic’s impact, according to the Government of Canada website.

Members of the Wollaston Lake and Île-à-la-Crosse Canadian Ranger Patrols responded to requests for assistance on Sunday, and then the Fond-du-Lac patrol responded on Wednesday. Each patrol is working with municipal officials.

Sgt. Tanya Aramenko is the patrol commander for the Île-à-la-Crosse Canadian Ranger Patrol. It consists of 15 members.

“We made about nine trips yesterday delivering wood to elders and community members. We’ve gone out about four times maybe to do fish already, and with that we’ve been smoking the fish and delivering,” she explained.

“They’ve all been just so happy. They just come to the door smiling. Some of them will ask ‘How much?’ And we’re like ‘No, no, it’s free. Have it.’ They’re just shocked.”

Aramenko said a lot of people in the community are left without jobs and don’t have the finances for these items.

According to a news release, the Île-à-la-Crosse patrol are also assisting community officials by distributing information related to health and hygiene.

The Wollaston Lake Canadian Ranger Patrol, consisting of 12 members, is currently working with Hatchet Lake Denesuline First Nation officials delivering wood and food. They’re also helping staff the COVID-19 emergency response centre.

“As Canadian Rangers, we are ready, able and committed to supporting our community during these difficult times. By assisting municipal officials with logistical support we are working to ensure that community members remain supported and cared for during COVID-19 relief efforts,” said Sgt. Jean Tsannie, patrol commander for the Wollaston Lake Canadian Ranger Patrol.

The thirteen members of the Fond-du-Lac Canadian Ranger Patrol are helping transport and distribute supplies for people in isolation, setting up and staffing their community response centre and delivering food and firewood.

Currently, says the release, there’s over 200 Canadian rangers with the 4th Canadian Ranger Patrol on standby to respond to requests for assistance as needed through the CAF.

The 4th Canadian Ranger Patrol Group is responsible for over 1,100 Canadian Rangers in 47 patrols across BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.