THE BLOG

Alberta Floods and Hurricane Sandy Deja Vu

06/27/2013 07:54 EDT | Updated 08/27/2013 05:12 EDT

On Monday, November 5th 2012, I was packing food hampers at Saint Jacobi Lutheran Church in Brooklyn, New York. Hurricane Sandy had caused widespread destruction a few days before and my reason for being in the city, the New York Marathon, had, understandably, been cancelled. It seemed only natural to respond to a request for volunteers.

This past Monday, June 24th, I was packing food hampers at the Morley Food Bank, Alberta. A huge flood had swept through the Bow Valley and communities from Banff to Calgary and beyond and have been left devastated. Morley lies between Canmore and Cochrane and is home to the Stoney Nation. This comprises of three bands; Bearspaw, Wesley and Chiniki. At the food bank, coordinator Belinda put Sue and I to work filling Ziplock bags with flour, oats and sugar. Truck loads of food, clothes, bedding, and towels were coming in and other volunteers were unloading these and moving them into Morley Community School.

This morning, Thursday June 27th, I headed back to offer more help. Sam, one of the organizers, met me at the school entrance and I signed in. Things seemed to be a lot more organised and I was teamed up with Joel and Daquan. Joel is in grade 7 at the Morley Community School and Daquan is in grade 5 at the Nakoda Elementary School. They are both sleeping in the school as their homes have been affected by the flood. A truck load of bottled water came in and the lads worked their butts off moving the "24 packs" into one of the classrooms.

I mentioned to coordinator Belinda that the boys had put in a good shift and she said they were both members of the Morley cadet core, a group of young people who were trying to make a difference in their community. It got me thinking about Morley and its relationship to Cochrane. It should be Cochrane's Sister town as its only 35kms away but I'm sad to say that the last time I was there was on March 4th 2010. It was during "Marathon Quest 250" and I was on marathon #35. I had to do 50 laps around the school and kids joined me all through the day. Brody, grade 3, told me about his pets, Ivana, grade 5, told me about her dreams to travel and a group of grade 2's told me knock, knock jokes.

During the break I met Drew, a teacher from the newly built Nakoda Elementary School, which goes from Kindergarten to grade 5. I would very much like to visit the school, when the new term begins and so I offered to go in and talk about "Quests for Kids" and Right To Play. Later I met Killian, a grade 12 teacher at the community school and made the same offer. During the day a number of students helped out, some from Morley and some from the surrounding communities.

I saw it in New York and again in Morley, adversity brings people together. As the motto of Right To Play says "Look after yourself, look after one another."

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