I ended my volunteer stint today at 2:00PM MDT for the Edmonton Emergency Relief Services Society.
This is my last look at what has been my home since last Wednesday, May 25 at 2:00PM MDT.
I have been impressed, amazed, humbled and overwhelmed emotionally by the spirit of the people. And by people I mean those who are evacuees from Ft Mac and those who have been my fellow volunteers. Some people who I’ve met have been volunteering since the doors opened – Wow! Some are people who are evacuees who have been volunteering since day one! The strength and resiliency of the human spirit was in evidence in spades.
I’ve made some new friends, met some fantastic people and have had a couple of home-cooked meals which were both excellent and greatly appreciated.
I’ve been stopped on the street, in the distribution center and while driving (at a traffic light) by folks who recognize me from the TV broadcasts, who have thanked me personally. It has been both surreal and humbling. But, overall this experience has been maybe the most rewarding experience in my life.
Tourist is what I am for the balance of Tuesday. See a few sites, (West Edmonton Mall is a must see I’m told – the progenitor of the Mall of America) then have dinner with Mark and Liza, two “Albertan rednecks” (as Mark described them!). They got in touch with me through the reporter Julia Wong with the mission to thank me by hosting me at their home for dinner. I understand some Albertan Beef is to be consumed. I had some the other night for dinner at Marion Broverman’s house – so I know what a treat I’m in for!
Mission Accomplished. I’ll be “putting her into the wind” – as James A McGrath is wont to say – at about 8:00AM tomorrow. So long Canada, I’ll be back. Debbie and I need to see Banff, Jasper and Lake Louise!
73 – Jim