As the flood waters receded, we watched in awe as citizens of our city rallied together to help their neighbors. As soon as evacuation orders were lifted, Albertans from all over arrived at strangers’ doorsteps to do whatever they could to help with the cleanup. The overwhelming display of compassion was inspiring, and some of our employees wanted to do more to ease the burden on the individuals who were still dealing with the aftermath at their homes. We heard that the residents in High River still needed help after weeks of cleanup, and their supplies were dwindling. Working with our leadership and health & safety team, we arranged for over 20 of our eager employees to board a bus to High River equipped with personal protective equipment and safety procedures for cleanup.
Clayton Dunford, one of our volunteers, reflects on the experience, which he calls life-altering: “We got a chance to help out a family whose basement was completely submerged in water, sewage, silt and who knows what else. We busted up tile, ripped out carpet and pulled out all the basement windows. We cleared the yard of any debris that we could move. The images of items that were scattered across the yard are still burned in my head: wedding albums destroyed, children's toys covered in who knows what, family photos in shattered frames, mold-covered furniture... much of what they had is gone.”
“Before we left, I walked over to father of the home, shook his hand, wished him well, and asked him if there was anything else we could do before we left. He looked up at me and said we did too much already and that he could not possibly ask us to do anything more. He squeezed my hand a little tighter and choked back a tear. My heart sank as I walked away.”
Our volunteers helped a number of residents that day—but we knew we could do more. There were equipment and supplies the residents and volunteers needed to continue the recovery, so we held a supply drive, appealing to our staff to make whatever contributions they could. Our construction partner Ledcor was working on our office renovations at the time and donated respirators, gloves, rubber boots, protective eyewear, and coveralls toward the effort. We then delivered this donation, in combination with numerous employee contributions, to High River into the hands of hundreds of appreciative volunteers and homeowners. The kindness demonstrated by the individuals who made this possible is truly humbling. We consider ourselves lucky to have people like that on our Stantec team.