Weeks after major flooding caused mass evacuations in and around Calgary, Alberta, a Canadian official is thanking the American Red Cross for its support.
On July 7 at the Premier’s Breakfast for the Calgary Stampede, an annual rodeo and festival, Alison Redford, premier of Alberta, recognized the efforts of the American Red Cross in the flood relief operation. A premier is the head of state of a Canadian province or territory.
The Premier’s Breakfast, traditionally held in Calgary, was held in Aldersyde this year, a very small community near High River, so that the residents who had suffered so much loss could come together for a community event.
Vicki Eichstaedt, one of 14 American Red Cross volunteers in Alberta, attended the breakfast.
“I was just talking with Vicki, a Red Cross volunteer,” Redford said, “who came here from the American Red Cross to help us. She said she was so grateful for Canadian support during [Hurricane] Sandy. She was thrilled for the honor and privilege of being here to return the favor and pay it forward.” The American Red Cross Hurricane Sandy response effort was the organization’s largest domestic operation in five years, and Red Cross volunteers from Canada and Mexico deployed to the East Coast to support it.
In addition to deploying 14 disaster response specialists to Canada to provide operations, coordination, information management, in-kind donations and public affairs support, the American Red Cross has also contributed 10,000 clean-up kits to the flood relief operation. The kits include items such as buckets, mops, gloves and masks.
At the breakfast, Eichstaedt met Kyle and Carly Kemp, and their son Preston. “The flood made us homeless,” Carly said. “We were living in a basement suite, and it is completely gone.” The breakfast provided a much-needed stress relief for Carly, who felt the event signaled the resiliency of the community and provided a positive distraction from the backbreaking cleanup work.
As for Eichstaedt, she also enjoyed the event. “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.