Written By: Stacey Morton, Marketing Consultant, SilverBirch Hotels & Resorts
Over the past few weeks I have been struck not only by the tragedy in our world but by the strength of the human spirit and our capacity for kindness and generosity.
Fort McMurray has faced a devastating wildfire that burned 5,899 square kilometres and destroyed one-tenth of its houses. While this is unimaginable devastation, the kindness displayed by so many people, almost overshadows the harsh realities of Mother Nature.
One of the most touching examples comes from Leduc Alberta where a young 16 year old paid for groceries for an evacuee from Fort McMurray. Generosity like this is unexpected especially from such a young person. Clearly this young man has great influences in his life who have taught him to be kind to all in need.
From across the country, support for Fort McMurray has made me proud to be a Canadian. Red Cross officials on P.E.I. have provided direct help to 80 people who have been displaced by the Fort McMurray fire, and are now staying on the Island. The fire victims have been getting clothing and food vouchers. Adults receive up to $200 in vouchers to Walmart to buy clothing and $80 for food. Islanders have raised more than $200,000 to assist the evacuees and donations continue to come in daily.
There have been reports of strangers helping each other, of rescuing people stranded by cars that didn’t have enough gas to escape. Pets have been rescued, and lodging has been offered by individuals and businesses. Many more examples of kindness are shared every day through social media and news sources.
At SilverBirch we are helping in the best way we know how. In addition to housing first responders at our Quality Hotel in Fort McMurray, we have decided to initiate our Friends in Need campaign six months early to benefit Fort McMurray. Typically run over the December holiday season, this year between June 18 – 25, $5 from every room night at all 11 operating SilverBirch hotels will be donated to Local 2494 Fort McMurray Firefighters.
Even the photo we are using for this campaign is an example of generosity. Have a look at this fantastic photo shot by Paul Spring from Phoenix Heli-Flight and Local HERO Foundation. Paul shot this image while looking for hot spots in the Fort McMurray area. When we approached him to purchase the image for this campaign he said “No charge, I’m just glad to help in any way possible”. He has aided in the rescue efforts in Fort McMurray and through a cruel twist of fate, saw his own home burn down while flying overhead to rescue others. Even after this tragedy, he is an upbeat, positive, generous person. Click here for more on Paul Spring’s connection to rescue efforts in Fort McMurray.
Fort McMurray has taken its fair share of knocks recently, but thanks to their strong spirit and the generosity of others, there is no doubt that this community will literally rise from the ashes. They are #FortMcMurrayStrong!!