Volunteer Flood Update
25 Jul 2013

Volunteer Flood Update

This week's blog features some personal stories from our employees that participated in the flood clean-up. We are blessed to work for a company that allowed each employee to dedicate a day of work to helping those who needed it. Here are a few stories that will touch your heart...

Jamie, Construction Technician (pictured above right):

As Kevin, Mike, and I arrived to Erlton, there were many volunteers ready to lend a helping hand. The streets were covered with backed up sewage and the sidewalks were lined up with mangled furniture and debris. It was disheartening to see our city in such shambles, but just being there to help made the homeowners seem more at ease. The three of us helped many families with the demolition of their basements. The first family that we helped out, we worked on their bathroom. We gutted their whole bathroom from tub to toilet, and everything in between. For the second family, we ripped out their entire basement, including drywall, insulation, and all doors and hardware. I am very proud of Cedarglen’s efforts and I am very happy to be a part of the whole recovery process.

Kevin, Site Supervisor (pictured above center):

When I first arrived on site I remember being amazed at how many houses had been affected by the flood. It was blocks of houses and each house within the disaster area was devastated in its own way. On the extreme end of the devastation were houses with foundations washed out from underneath them. I remember looking at an address and thinking that there was no way to save the house and that it would eventually have to start from scratch. However the majority of the addresses in Mission were affected in the same way. When the water levels came down, it left varying amounts of standing water in people’s basements.

When we first arrived it was quite the chaotic gong show. There were lots of people ready and willing to help just not everyone who had shown up to volunteer knew what they were doing. The first address I walked up to, the homeowner had already pumped his basement of any water and had already taken down all his drywall and removed the insulation. Jamie Petit, Mike Van Der Meer and I asked him if he had anything else he needed help with and helped him remove his plumbing him his bathroom downstairs. We removed the toilet and Bathtub for him, helped him bring it upstairs and outside to the piles of garbage that were forming at the fronts of peoples’ houses. We then went to a house that was a few addresses closer towards the river, and came upon a homeowner who had only just pumped the water out from his basement the night before. We asked him if he needed any help and proceeded to take apart his basement. Jamie, Mike and I were directing a workforce of anywhere from 5 to 20 people at any given time as some stayed longer than others to help. We were immediately identified as people who knew what they were doing and found ourselves directing people around. Many were asking what they could do to help, part being eager to help and part not knowing what to do. We started with light and outlet covers, and ended up with a gutted basement with just the framing remaining.

I didn’t think my volunteer work would have an impact on me yet I do feel differently after volunteering in Mission. I had friends and family praising me when they saw a picture of me on Facebook covered in mud after volunteering invoking a sense of pride. I am mostly impacted by how proud I feel after volunteering. Seeing others come out from varying parts of Calgary to help wherever they can and being one of those people myself, makes me proud to be Calgarian.

Amy, Design Consultant:

Four friends and I met at Mount Royal and were taken into the Roxboro area by a charted city bus. There were so many volunteers down there that we were having a hard time finding a house that needed assistance. We walked to the Safeway on 4th street and they had a tent set up where volunteers could register and then flood victims would call in looking for help and the volunteers would be given their address. We had shovels and crowbars so we were sent to a home that was at a demolition stage.

The first house we went to was in the Rideau Park area and the entire basement of their house had been full of water and their great room, front entry and garage had been damaged a few feet up the wall. We helped remove drywall, take down a small wall and shovel sludge that was on the subfloor as well as in the garage. After we were done there we went back to Safeway and were given a new address in Britannia that was a street away from the Elbow River. This house was in really bad shape. Almost the entire main floor was taken down to the studs and the basement was still in really rough shape. We went into the basement which also was just studs and there was a man who was starting to pressure wash the walls. However, the floor drain kept clogging so all the water we pushed towards it would just sit. Instead we started shoveling the sludge and ripping up the linoleum that was down there. We got absolutely covered in muddy water and sludge (see the picture below). It was dark and wet so facemasks were key.


It was so amazing to see how many people were volunteering whether it was getting physical or families with kids walking around offering sandwiches and drinks. I will always look at our city as a great example of a community that comes together in need. To see the devastation was life changing in the way that it makes you appreciate everything you have and that anything really can happen. I will never forget that day and how important it is to involve yourself when you can because before I went down and saw it for myself, I couldn’t really fathom what had happened. Watching it on TV seemed so unreal.

A big thank you to everyone from Cedarglen that volunteered. Together we reached over 250 volunteer hours! Questions or comments? Let me know below.

- Ashley