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Alberta stands United

During the last few days we saw the greatest fire-related evacuation in Albertan history unfold, it is a disaster of epic proportions. Shocking images flood social media along with so many heartbreaking stories that surely include only a fraction of the experience of upward of 88 000 fellow Albertans.

I look on in disbelief and awe as this ocean of fire consumes everything in its path while it moves where it will. Alberta should be on its knees in the face of tough economic times and this state of emergency, however this is not even close to the story being played out. Albertans have come together and pledged to see this through together no matter what.

I am humbled by the superhuman efforts of fire fighters from all across the province that refuse to be defeated and fight bravely in an area that the rest of the population had to flee. We as Albertans salute your efforts and are truly grateful for your sacrifice and service. We want you to know that we have faith in you. All the men and women on the front lines are true heroes!

The compassion shown by Albertans truly warms the heart and creates an atmosphere of hope. There are so many examples of ways in which support is offered, I saw an Airdrie dads group filling a trailer with much needed drinking water. Trucks and trailers loaded with gasoline leaving out of Edmonton to assist those stranded by the road side. Master Rim's Taekwondo Academy out of Red Deer, Airdrie and Calgary pledged all the proceeds of an upcoming festival to relief efforts. There are clothes drives and volunteers putting in many hours to sort the items collected in the drives. I saw university students taking initiative to support the graduating class of 2016 with tutors and study facilities. People are opening their homes and volunteering their time and expertise. Name a need and you will find a Facebook group rallying to to meet it.

Many corporates have stepped up to assist as well, LaBatt Breweries comes to mind with the donation of canned drinking water, airlines like Canadian North and Westjet are in the thick of things helping evacuate both people and their pets. Restaurants are offering free meals, Petland donated food for the animals of Fort McMurray. Stores like Sobeys and 7-Eleven help to collect in store for the Red Cross that has seen great support from Canada as a whole and many donors from abroad. This list of support goes on and on and the uplifting stories are to plentiful to mention them all.

The generosity and compassion speak to the undeniable fact that Albertans are standing strong in the face of adversity. Our province is proudly Canadian, we are Alberta strong and Fort McMurray, please know that we most definitely have your back!

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