“The flood made us homeless”, said Carly Kemp of High River, Alberta CA. “We were living in a basement suite, and it is completely gone.”
After the June 2013 floods in Alberta, many residents from the hardest hit areas are in need of a sense of normalcy. Vicki Eichstaedt of the American Red Cross, met with Kyle and Carly Kemp, and their son Preston, age 11 months, at the Premier’s Stampede Breakfast. “We wanted to come to the breakfast because we hoped we would get a chance to thank the Premier for the quick response from the government and her leadership in making sure that people were getting the help they needed,” said Carly. “We also wanted to be here with all of the volunteers that have been working so hard in High River since the storm.”
Carly was grateful that the Calgary Stampede had not been cancelled, as it is both a symbol of community resilience and a needed distraction from the backbreaking cleanup work. The Premier’s Breakfast, traditionally held in Calgary as a part of the Calgary Stampede, was held in Aldersyde, a very small community near High River, so that the community, which had suffered so much loss, could come together. Breakfast and music was provided and kids were entertained with balloon animals and face painting. “It was really great to go out and have a little fun after all of the stresses of the past couple of weeks,” Carly smiled. “It seems like it has been a long time”.
Volunteer Vicki Eichstaedt is a part of a collaboration between the Canadian Red Cross and the American Red Cross responding to this disaster. “It is such a privilege to be able to help the Canadian Red Cross and residents like Carly, Kyle and Preston and to enjoy the Alberta hospitality in the sunshine,” she said.
Story by Vicki Eichstaedt
Photo credit: Virginia Hart