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Alberta Flood Unsung Heroes: Come Hell or High Water

08/02/2013 04:38 EDT | Updated 09/30/2013 05:12 EDT

Last month parts of Alberta were struck with a devastating flood.  As we watched the horrific images of beloved Canadian cities immersed in water, Canadians felt connected like never before to its thriving midwest.

I arrived in Calgary the day after the flood had devastated most of Calgary's vibrant downtown and surrounding cities. Along with the rest of Canada, I was concerned about the people of Calgary and surrounding areas. How would they recover from such a blow?  Homes and lives were destroyed in the matter of days. Businesses were halted for an undetermined time period, and one concern that echoed through out the city was, what would happen to the Calgary Stampede.  As the largest festival in Calgary, the Stampede represented the spirit of Midwest Canada.

Days that followed the flood

Days that followed the flood

To my amazement, within days the recovery efforts were visible. Everywhere I went I caught bits and pieces of conversations of people and businesses pulling together to bring about the swift rebuilding process. It seemed like there were small acts of heroism going on all around me, and I wanted to find out more.

So I decided to do a little digging, and sent out a few emails to see if there were any brands helping with the flood relief. And sure enough, when I asked brands if they had offered up any help, they sent back long emails, detailing their involvement in the flood relief.  I felt moved beyond belief and I had to take a moment to share some of the unsung heroes.

The first set of heroes that I encountered were the organizers of Blissdom Canada, a major blogger conference.  Though the conference will take place in October, the organizers were in the middle of taking their conference on the road, meeting up with the attendees across the country. The Blissdom British Columbia meet up took place days after the floods in Calgary. On the Blissdom Facebook page the organizers Jennifer Powell and Shannon Mischuk posted their desire to help out with the Alberta Flood relief, and suggested the attendees bring masks and gloves that they would personally deliver to Calgary.

Besides encouraging the conference attendee to give for the flood relief, Blissdom Canada also reached out to Home Depot and a local Canadian Tire to collect gloves and masks. With the help of West Jet airlines that waived their excess baggage fee for Shannon and Jennifer, they delivered boxes full of gloves and masks for free to volunteers on the ground.

Shannon Mischuk delivering boxes of masks and gloves via West Jet

Shannon Mischuk delivering boxes of masks and gloves via West Jet

When I asked Jennifer Powell what made Blissdom Canada compelled to help with the flood relief efforts, this is what she had to say:

 "When my cousin Valerie Cade reached out on Facebook asking for Gloves and Masks to help volunteers avoid contact with possible mold from the Alberta Flood, we knew we had to do something to help. Since we live and spend much of our time on social networks, our first response was to reach out on social to see who could help. We had many social influencers in Canada help spread the word."

Package delivered!

Package delivered!

Jennifer and Shannon exercised the power of social responsibility on social media. Just by making a few phone calls, and posting on Facebook and Twitter, the organizers of Blissdom Canada managed to ship hundreds of masks and gloves to the volunteers working on the ground helping with the flood relief.

While the clean up continued, the concern for the Stampede was put to rest, and the show did go on in style.  The Stampede had the appropriate theme for it's 101st year "Come Hell or High Water".

Street Art at the Calgary Stampede

Street Art at the Calgary Stampede

As the sponsors of the event, GMC the automobile company put a lot of effort towards the flood relief, this is what they had to say about their assistance:

 "GMC partnered with the Calgary Stampede to loan 30 GMC Sierra trucks for two months to assist with Alberta flood relief efforts.   The trucks have been used to help with efforts to open the Calgary Stampede for its 101st year. Thereafter, in partnership with the Stampede, we will look for opportunities to use the trucks to provide assistance with flood relief efforts in other Alberta communities.  This support is in addition to GM Canada's corporate and employee donations made through the Canadian Red Cross at the onset of the flooding."

Steve Ager, Parks & Facility Services Manager, had his crews working tirelessly to ensure the park was ready when Stampede 101 kicked off on July 5th.

Steve Ager, Parks & Facility Services Manager, had his crews working tirelessly to ensure the park was ready when Stampede 101 kicked off on July 5th.

Though the flood in Alberta was tragic, the collectiveness and concern across Canada has been moving. As the city of Calgary rises above it's devastation, countless heroes will rise with it. I will continue to share stories of people and brands that have been an inspiration and helped out with the Alberta flood relief.