May 3, 2016, a day that will live in infamy for hundreds of thousands of people. I waffled on posting this post, a day of gentleness was needed. Pass the day by without a word, but a somber thought.
Last year, I sat in my office paralyzed by the news of what was happening in Fort McMurray. I wrote two posts, one on the eve of the mass evacuation, and one a week later. There are really no words to describe the trauma that the beast left in its wake. It affected everyone who lives there, and who ever lived there. It was life-changing. It brought together a nation in care, and a city in strength.
It’s one year later, my friends brother wrote a book, Into the Fire, I flipped through the pages and was overcome by tears, tears of pride, tears of loss and mostly tears of memories. Of not knowing what part of my hometown would be left, if my friends and family would go back to a home, and general concern for their wellbeing. I get asked all the time if I have been back to McMurray. I have not, not because I don’t care, but because I’m still raw. I spent fours weeks during the fire in the Provincial Operations Centre, where I prepared briefings for the Premier, wrote speaking notes for Premier and Minister, developing the content that would direct and inform my fellow McMurrayites of the numbers they should be calling, or where they needed to go for services. I did it because it was my way of caring for McMurray. My way of making sure my friends, family and fellow McMurrayites were being cared for. I did it because I grew up in Fort McMurray. I did it because when you’re raised in Fort Murray lending a hand is a way of life. I never expected anything in return, other than the safe return of my friends and family.
As the thousands of tributes, books, and feeds that fill social media and our senses, I have no doubt that the thousands of first responders, fire fighters and personnel that worked to battle the blaze will be honoured as true heroes.
We are all forever grateful for the risk they took, and the determination they have that protected homes and kept the community safe.
Today, I ask you to give respect, to be gentle and kind to the people of Fort McMurray. They are still healing, they are strong, stronger than before. But they are healing and caring for each other. To my friends, family and fellow McMurrayites, do what you need to do, and remember we have your back. Because we know you would do the same for us. #YMMSTRONG #YMMfire #Weareback #stronger #grateful #thankyou