On Wednesday July 10th, I decided to head back to Morley, the First Nation community, 30 kms west from where I live in Cochrane, Alberta. I had checked their Facebook page and saw that help was still needed.
Having parked at the Morley Community School, I walked around to the back of the building, where I met Hyron. He said he was the school cook and now, with the flooding, he was given the task of cooking for all the families who were having to take refugee in the school. Hyron has lived in Morley all his life and has five children. He talked about the plight of some of the older citizens, who didn't want to leave their homes, even though mould was starting to engulf their houses. He pointed out some modular units in the school yard and said that they were considering turning them into homes.
Inside, I met Building Manager, Amanda. She told me that they needed water, canned goods, such as chicken, ham, fruit and vegetables and peanut butter. I asked if I could help and Amanda told me to go over the Chiniki Grocery Store across Highway 1 and they would line me up there. As I was talking to her, one of the administrators, Derek, called out "Hi Marathon Man". I had met Derek when I had run a marathon at the school in 2010. He said I should head over and see the new track, at the recently built Nakoda Elementary school.
So, on my way back to the car, I checked out the track. It is magnificent and I would certainly love to run a marathon on it. I drove across to the store and met Belinda. In the early days of the flood, we had worked together at the Morley Food Bank, and it was good to chat with her again. I spent the day moving loads of sugar, flour, Kraft Dinner and rice from pallets onto shelves. A group of students, from Morley Community School, worked very hard and moved pallet after pallet of food and cleaning items. Another group made up hampers and all through the day families came in to pick them up.
At the end of the shift, I headed back to the school for a coffee, before driving home. Pouring myself a cup, I looked up and spotted Lance. He is a grade 5 student at the elementary school who, two weeks ago, helped me to move water packs from trucks into the classroom. He was with a couple of his buddies and I asked him how it was going. He said they were really bored. He was staying in a class room in the school and there was nothing to do.
Driving home it got me thinking. People were doing lots of things for the body with the food and clothing, but nothing for the spirit. The kids had nothing to do so what could I do to change that. I decided to take a page out of the play book of Johann Koss, the founder of Right To Play. The idea of the marathon on the school track came back to me. I didn't know where to take this idea but I knew who would help me. I phoned my friend Jack Tennant, Publisher of the Cochrane Eagle and we had a chat.
To Be Continued.