A great number of you will already know this, as it hit the news with quite a bit of punch a few weeks ago, but there was a massive amount of flooding in the province of Alberta. The pictures of the floods are all over the internet, and #prayforAB and #ABflood trended on Twitter. If you’d like to see what I’m talking about, please Google to your hearts content.
I just can’t look at the pictures any longer.
I grew up here. I spent my life to this point here. I’ve traveled Alberta, I’ve loved it, and I know this province not because it is like my own backyard, but because it is my own backyard.
I watched the news, and listened to the reports of places that I loved as a child get washed away; places that I had a small part in constructing got reduced to nothing more than rubble with the crushing forces of the rivers that slammed through the province with a speed and strength that staggered us all.
I listened to the people that I knew and cared about as they told me about the devastation in their areas, in their very homes. I waited none too patiently for news of two of my guys that had been stranded in the town of High River and were waiting to be rescued. And I worried for days about a Firefighter that I know and care about who was out there doing whatever it took to help keep people safe.
It was so hard.
It was so personal.
This was not a case of watching the news footage of the tsunami in Japan and thinking to myself, ‘that is horrible’, and feeling such sympathy for all of those that were effected. I thought I felt that as deeply as I could feel anything. I was wrong. It wasn’t that I didn’t feel deeply for the victims of that disaster; what I realized was that I was watching that with the ever-so-slight detachment that comes – however unintentionally – from being several thousand miles away and having no one that I knew personally involved in it.
Not so with Alberta.
With High River and Sundre and all points in between.
I live here. In my heart of hearts and no matter where I go, this will always be my first home.
This province will always be my first love.
And now, as I sit at work each day and field calls from the people of Alberta to help them get their lives back, I am devastated that I can not help everyone. I hear the stories of their lives, and how those lives have been destroyed by this tragedy. I want to tell them all that I can have someone come and help them start getting their homes back to livable condition – hell, condition good enough that they can actually go back home – but the fact is simply this: I can’t personally help them all.
All I can do is what I’m best at. Make things work, make them fit. Make the calls to help make it happen. Figure it out so that my guys can do what they do best.
And they have. I have watched the guys that I work with transform from regular joes to knights on white horses. I have watched them work all weekend on their own time to help with the repairs that need to be done. I try to put smiles on their faces when they are dog-tired and dragging ass. I’ve listened to them when they’ve needed it. I have gotten texts and calls on weekends and late at night from these incredible guys who just want to help in any way they can.
They keep my ass from dragging, and they keep a smile on my face.
So to K-Dub, Master J, Happiness, Devo, CS, Sunshine, Sharpie, NewfieA and my Fireman, thank you. Thank you for allowing me the chance to help. Thank you for helping. Just… thank you.
You’re my heroes, and we are lucky to have you.
I heart you all.