By Tim Kalinowski
Cypress County and the Town of Redcliff are doing their part to help fire victims in Fort McMurray
Last Thursday Mayor Ernie Reimer of issued a challenge to all of the citizens of Redcliff, as well as local reeves and mayors, to match his personal donation of $100 to the Red Cross to support the residents of Fort McMurray suffering due to the wildfires there.
“Our hearts go out to them,” said Reimer. “I am making a $100 donation, and I am making a plea for all my fellow citizens to follow suit. The federal government has just announced they will match the Red Cross dollar for dollar for the contributions that will go to the cause. As the elected leader of our community, I am doing what should be expected of all our leaders in politics. And maybe other folks, because the Mayor is doing it, would follow suit.”Reimer went on to say he couldn’t even imagine the devastation the people of Fort McMurray must be going through right now.
“Obviously there is not a whole lot else we can do. We are sitting back here secure, and there are all these people going through this huge disaster in their lives that it will take a lifetime to recover from. I was just thinking this morning: What would we expect if we were in their shoes? You never know if a huge twister came through here or a big hailstorm or any other disaster. I thought this would be a good gesture. I thought it this would be my opportunity and my responsibility.”
Also on Thursday, Cypress County announced it would make available a brush truck and a fire engine manned by six local volunteers to head into the fire fight near Fort McMurray.
Reeve Darcy Geigle said he was very proud of the volunteers, who would be taking time out of their busy lives to help other Albertans in need.
“It’s great. It’s just the way those volunteer guys are. They are not in it for the glory and they are always willing to help.”
Like others in the area, Geigle has been watching the horror unfolding in Fort McMurray. He was saddened after hearing stories of those forced to leave their homes or lost them entirely due to the fires.
“We have never had nothing in the County to that extent,” he said. “When these people turn to you for help, everybody wants to do what they can. It’s going to take time to rebuild after this crisis is over, hopefully they can get their lives back together.”
As for offering the use of the County’s fire fighting equipment to those in Fort McMurray, Geigle said it’s just what one does when you see those in need.
“It is the right thing to do when other municipalities are in trouble. We had the flood there in 2010, and we had lots of municipalities willing to help us. We’ve got some volunteers right now who are willing to go. If they are needed, we will be glad to send them.”