It’s been just over a week since a devastating flood caused the evacuation of 100,000 Calgarians, destroying thousands of homes and businesses in the city.  I have been in the heart of it all, with our own personal home being affected.  While this may be viewed as very unlucky by many, I choose to find the positive in the situation, and here it is:  Through the last 9 heart wrenching days, I have seen kindness, generosity, and the true spirit of Calgary as I have never experienced it before.

Firstly, we have experienced kindness, generosity, and love from our family, friends, and colleagues that has truly gone over and above anything we could ever have expected or dreamed.  We have had dozens of people at our home, day and night, helping us destroy what was damaged, clean up what remains, and supporting us emotionally as well.  Our entire block teamed up together as one huge demolition crew, everyone working together for the greater cause of getting our community cleaned up and making sure everyone was taken care of.  We have shared in everything from cleaning supplies, to lifting muscle, to food and drink to even toilet paper!

On the second day, a minimum of 100 orange clad volunteers from Samaritans’ Purse showed up on our street and by the end of that day, almost every basement had been stripped down to the concrete.  We have encountered dozens of total strangers bringing us more food than we could possibly eat, drinks, cleaning supplies, tools, and anything else needed in a constant flow.

Overarching all of this is Mayor Nenshi, who has done a more than exceptional job in handling this enormous disaster.  In usual Nenshi style, he has used the power of social media to keep Calgarians informed and updated of any dangers, new developments, or procedures requiring adherence such as initiating evacuations, notifying of road closures, limiting water and electricity use.  In addition to handling all elements on a municipal level with extreme competence, expediency and grace,  Nenshi has also been hard at work on the street level to assess the situation and bring some positive spirit along with him – he knocked on my door last night just to see how I was doing – what mayor does that?!

So – has Flood 2013 been a devastating event?  Absolutely.  But are we fortunate to be proud Calgarians?  More than ever before.

And PS – Yes, the Calgary Stampede will go on!!

Dr Sue Pedersen © 2013 

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