The recent wildfire slamming the city of Fort McMurray and area has hit most of us pretty hard. People across the country are taking donations to help out. Once again, Canadians step up when needed. To me, Fort McMurray epitomizes my Canadian dream. The people I’ve listened to – and met – seem young, full of energy, and ready to work. Many seem so nonplussed about the mass evacuation. Their resiliency is the frontier spirit that built our country.
A couple of days ago I met a few young workers from Ireland and young woman from Newfoundland. They’re staying at our friend’s house until they get sent back up. Our small part is to gladly provide a room for their daughter displaced by the evacuees. These young folks seem so vibrant and eclectic – so much fun, and so worry free. They show the energy of the eternally optimistic youth who have moved to this region to build a strong industry and community. I am strangely a little jealous of their youthful zeal. They seem so excited about their future. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not at all envious of their terrifying experience with the fire. I can’t imagine how frightening it must have been to drive through a city with parts of it on fire. But their stories encourage me, and make me want to be more adventurous.
I want to help out in a some small way, but there’s not much I can do, or need to do. This is a city better prepared to handle disasters than perhaps any other place in the world. The workforce is trades focused, and well-versed in contingency plans. If anyone thinks the “Oilsands” is not well-managed – think again. The ability for them to handle this event clearly shows their systems work.
About the only thing I am qualified to do is provide donations, which, of course, we’ve done. But right now I am trying to escape the guilt of not donating at every till in every store. Signs are everywhere – donate to Fort Mac fire. At first I began explaining to the cashiers that I had already done things, but I realized that’s not what they – or the people in line – want to hear. I feel a little like I’m being “bullied by goodwill” into donating at each place. Hopefully all the donations go to the right place – and actually provide the support we all intend to provide.
Where will this disaster lead us? I’m not sure. I hope it has let the rest of the country gain insights as to the true nature of us “redneck” Albertans. We are not horrible people; most of us are just good, hard-working people trying to do the best we can – just like anywhere else in the country.