by Sharon Auld
For many people affected by the recent flooding in Southern Alberta, it may not be the happiest of Canada Days. Our hearts are still with you as you work to rebuild your homes and lives. I hope you can find some happiness and inspiration on this Canada Day.
Albertans, and Canadians showed their true character admist devastation and the state of emergency. Albertans have led by example through their generosity of spirit, kindness, hard work, and their support for one another despite difficult circumstances. They knocked on the doors of their neighbours to offer support, they welcomed displaced neighbours into their homes and offered them food, shelter and community. They rallied together to stay strong, and to rebuild come “Hell or high water” ( to borrow the phrase from the Calgary Stampede). And the world took notice of our wonderful nation…truly the “True North, Strong and Free”. Though many may define greatness of a nation by its economic prowess, to me a great nation is defined by the character of its people. Perhaps, this will be the new definition, that the world will use to define “super power”.
Albertans and Canadians have shown a strong and caring character, with the resilience to rebuild. It’s so uplifting to find hope in the younger generation of Canadians. I personally was so inspired by the poster below, which Canmore youths were posting all around the town of Canmore after the flood. Throughout this time of recovery, there are so many examples of youth doing their part to help out with flood relief. There’s the story of a three year old BC boy who asked his mother if they could sell cookies to help people in the Calgary area. There are stories of youth emptying their piggy banks or holding lemonade stands to help with flood relief. These kids prove that you’re never too young to help and to lead by example. If our future is in the hands of our youngsters, then surely Canada will be okay.
Thank you to the public servants, soldiers and many, many volunteers who helped during this time!
Weddings, in a way, may seem trivial in the time of disaster, but in some ways, they are more important than ever. It’s the love for one another, that lead to loving people, caring communities and a great nation. The wedding community in Alberta, have not only rallied together so that weddings can still go ahead as planned, but also to offer their support to their fellow neighbours. While I am sure there are many untold stories of unsung heros during the flooding and recovery (and many who wanted to help but were unable to due to their own conditions), here are but a few wedding professionals who set wonderful examples for their communities:
Below, Rob Murray, dj for Class Act DJ Service and one of the hosts of 106.5 Mountain FM, spent countless hours posting social media updates on the flood. His accurate, up to the minute updates were indispensible for Bow Valley residents especially during the emergency and uncertainty.
Lauren Laming, fellow wedding planner, of Rocky Mountain Weddings relocated herself and stayed overnight at the shelter, with the animals at the local Bow Valley SPCA. She fed and watered the animals (as a volunteer) when SPCA staff were unable to make it there due to the widespread flooding.
Gerrard of Highland Executive Chauffer, along with his wife and young daughter, brought food and beverages to front line emergency workers during the flooding in Canmore.
Crista Lee Mitchell, from Crista Lee Photography waded through flood waters up to her knees to document the weddings of one of her couples that decided to go ahead with their wedding (elopement style) despite the flooding. Their story was picked nationally by the Huffington Post, the National Post and Global News (the story and now infamous photograph below went viral). Also a shout out to Patricia Compton, local Canmore marriage commissioner, who stood in for Banff marriage commissioner, Robin White. While Robin was unable to make the wedding due to road closures from Banff to Canmore, he made sure he brought the marriage licence to the local ROAM bus to take to the couple in time for them to get married!
Shanna Cremers of Pink Umbrella Designs, made this wonderful graphic (and flags) after being inspired by the local Canmore kids’ posters that were put up all around town. Shanna also wrote a very personal and touching post on the floods.
Julie Williams Photography for suppling thank you photo below.
We THANK YOU all!!!
There are still countless others to mention, here are a few more:
Erika and Lanny Mann from Two Mann Studios, Canmore, helping to rebuild in Exshaw, Alberta. Meg from One Edition | Weddings by Rafal Andronowski Photography for her tireless work with the Evacuation Centre and Recovery Centre in Canmore.
From Calgary, Lesley Plumey from Magical Moments Event Planning, who helped arrange a supply convey to High River (which included several local Calgary and Canmore wedding professionals who pitched in). Gabe McClintock Photography who launched YYC memories,(which has almost two hundred photographers sign up) to offer wedding photography services to flood victims, Anna Michalska Photography who offered her wedding dress, and so many more.
Thank you to the understanding couples who’s weddings had to be relocated and thank you to the many wonderful couples offering support, including on of our very own former Naturally Chic bride, Cheryl Herman (love you Cheryl!) who offered up her wedding dresses!
An inspirational read for anyone this Canada Day is the Canmore Flood Heros Facebook page.
If you know of a “flood hero”, “like” the Canmore Flood Heros Facebook page or feel free to mention them in the comments here!
Happy Canada Day! Over the next coming months, as the headlines fade, please remember to continue to offer support to the individuals and communities affected by the flooding. The love and rebuilding continue!
PS I hope all the heroes mentioned here do not mind me sharing your story, but please let me know if you would rather not be mentioned.