“Going back, to how things were” – no evidence anyone anywhere ever experiences those.
Wildfires ravaged them.
90% still standing.
Can we help?
Not equating, but I see parallels between Fort McMurray and New York.
I visited, two months after 9/11. Energy there, that hustle, was palpable. Most memorable, a letter on my hotel bed. From Mayor Rudy Giuliani, saying “thanks for coming back”. It might have been a copy, but it felt like he’d signed a few thousand copies.
My parallel, isn’t that letter, but the value of that visit …
First group of 80,000 displaced Fort McMurray residents, can return starting today.
Massive clean-up, enormous re-build. Stores scrambling restocking groceries, prescriptions and fuel. And garbage bags, brooms and beer. Stuff. Insurance claims.
But, can we help restock their spirit?
Wait a few weeks – once everyone who can has returned, once emergency crews retreat – then book a room, buy a meal, see a site, meet someone – just go!
More than financial supports, benevolent hands of governments and NGO’s, what Fort McMurray needs now is visitors, old friends, new friends, investors, buyers and sellers of every kind, doing business, spending money. Shaking some hands. Exchanging some hugs. And some purchase orders!
What else can we do?
Donate, if you haven’t already. Subscribe to Fort McMurray Today [just did - year is $50]. We can lend a hand, extend a hand, show up, spend some time, spend some money, listen to some stories – tell everyone you know, “Fort Mac is open for business again”.
When fire destroys forests, new growth flourishes from the forest floor. Why should a city be any different? When the all-clear has been given, we should go back. If you’ve never been, go for the first time – it will be fantastic.
Not just for you.
For them …
written / published from Calgary, AB
morning walk: 7C/44F, like yesterday but overcast, similar prediction of warm sunny rain-free day; Gusta and I had a late quiet stroll … it’s been a ‘hectic week already’ and it’s just Wednesday …