JUNE 21ST MARKED THE ONE-YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF THE SOUTHERN ALBERTA FLOOD.
Last year 100,000 people were evacuated from their homes in Calgary and High River. It had been the worst flood since 1934.
Calgary’s Saddledome was flooded to the 9th row of seats, as were the Stampede Grounds, the Calgary Zoo, the East Village, Bowness, Roxboro and Mission (just a few blocks east of my place), and several other neighbourhoods.
My friend and I had walked around the Mission area last year and volunteered to help residents clean out their flooded basements.
As the one-year anniversary since the flood approached many neighbourhoods were planning block parties to remember how the city and others came together to help victims of the flood. I decided to attend the Cliff Bungalow/Mission event.
The Weatherman had promised a sunny day, so I was disappointed when I woke up to rain on Saturday morning. It seemed like an eerie reminder of last year – I felt uneasy.
Luckily, the sun broke through the clouds by the time I headed to the Cliff Bungalow Park on Cliff Street and 22 Avenue SW.
The two men above, each a member of one of two bands were scheduled to play after the formal part of the Mission Possible event. I met them as soon as I got there, as well as Mitch’s mom who declined to appear in the photo, in favour of having me photograph just her son and his friend.
Free food was available to those who were affected by last year’s flood and the volunteers who helped flood victims clean up. Earlier in the morning I had been watching the news and a man whose property had sustained water damage hoped that the volunteers who had helped him would come to the event.
At the time of the flood, he hadn’t learned their names, but he knew he would remember their faces – he wanted to say thank you.
These ladies were giving away sunscreen and bug spray in the park, and London Drugs was giving away ‘a cup of sugar’ for as long as supplies lasted, at all their locations in the spirit of ‘it’s the neighbourly thing to do.’
The Red Cross was also represented at the event and they were giving away free Preparedness Kits to the first 200 people to visit their tent.
Volunteers were selling Mission Possible 2 T-shirts for $10. All of the money raised is going to the Community Association’s Resiliency fund to help the community.
MP Joan Crawford presented special medals to three outstanding individuals who went the extra mile during the flood last year.
Kent Hehr, MLA for Calgary Buffalo and long-time resident in the area talked about how he was born just three blocks away in 1969.
Over the course of his life Hehr said he has seen Calgary grow in wonderful ways. He stated how proud he was of Calgarians pulling together and overcoming a devastating situation.
“I witnessed neighbours helping neighbours, friends helping friends and strangers helping strangers,” said Hehr.
When I left the event, I decided to take the long way home and walked many of the same streets that were blocked off to traffic last year.
In my mind’s eye, I again saw the soggy-wet gyproc in piles lining the streets, flooded vehicles, treasured family photos laid out to dry in the sun in the hopes that they might be salvaged and people everywhere covered in mud helping out.
I got closer to home and walked by The Ship and Anchor and The National and saw their patios filled to the brim with people. I remembered how last year, in spite of having lost their power, they brought in barbecues and made burgers for victims and volunteers.
~ HUMP DAY CHRONICLES ~
When I think back on all the people who gave their time and money to help flood victims, I am still grateful and so very proud to be a Calgarian.