I have been a proud Canadian citizen for many decades and every time a July 1 rolls around I still get very excited with all the hype and color of the red and white flags, the noisy flypasts, and the many thousands of smiling and cheering citizens of all ages as they vigorously celebrate the freedom and opportunities of being a part of our great nation. Over the past month our great province has been totally overwhelmed with the horrific tragedy and destruction of weather gone wild, but as always, so many fellow Albertans have responded with an amazing display of heartfelt assistance for those who are suffering devastating losses, needs, and despair.
While the flood waters were ravaging Canmore, Calgary, High River and many other areas of southern Alberta, the Red Cross, the military, emergency services, our governments, and thousands of businesses, organizations and volunteers were so willingly moving in and offering their services to assist those in trouble for as long as it might take. Many of us sat rather helplessly for several days watching the tragedy unfold on television, certainly praying for the safety of those who were affected, as well as for those who were assisting them in so many vital ways.
Here are only a few of those totally unselfish, heartfelt, and caring acts of kindness that we have heard about during this gruelling 24-7 flood recovery, and of course there will be so many more, both now, and until this massive clean-up and rebuilding process is completed.
• Many thousands of volunteers from all ages and walks of life have travelled to the flood-ravaged areas and assisted families and businesses to clean up their property, while others have offered their homes and facilities to those who were forced out of own homes. A lady in Calgary who was covered in mud and had helped her neighbours for several days told a reporter that assisting others gave her and her family a “helper high,” because she knew that all Albertans would do the same for them.
• Overwhelming and generous donations of money, labour, equipment, clothes, bedding, food, and so much more have been pouring in from throughout the province and beyond from individuals, entertainers, teams, families, organizations, corporations, businesses, schools, churches, and on and on. Young children have been donating the contents of their piggy banks to the flood cause as well as offering lemonade and cookies to volunteers working at the clean-up sights, while some restaurant chains were supplying free meals and treats to tired volunteers, drycleaners were cleaning their muddied work clothes, and on and on. Peavey Mart in Red Deer organized a special day to collect food and other supplies for flood victims, eventually filling trucks with 68,000 pounds of desperately needed and much appreciated assistance.
• Even though our governments are on their summer break, they have tossed aside their differences for the time being, and are graciously travelling around the flood areas offering support and financial assistance.
• The bittersweet and long-standing Battle of Alberta Edmonton/Calgary rivalry has been brewing for many decades in sports and many other head-to-head activities but when the Stampede City was ravaged by floods and horrific damage their Edmonton neighbours responded immediately by sending extra police, emergency staff, vehicles, equipment, and much more. The Calgary folks responded with full page appreciation advertisements in City Of Champions daily newspapers.
• The 101st edition of the Calgary Stampede was in serious jeopardy following the floods, as the famous track and infield was under several feet of water. After a vigorous 24-7 week-long effort by hundreds workers, machines, and volunteers, most of the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth was able to go ahead in the revitalized city, also supported by a “Come Hell or High Water” T-shirt campaign that also netted several hundred thousand dollars for the Red Cross Flood Fund.
Bottom line, how lucky we are to be Canadians, and to live in Alberta, where absolutely no one should ever be afraid to reach out for help when they need it. Have a great leisure summer week, all of you!