Messages from Our Members of The Legislative Assembly (MLA)
To all those who didn’t know if they would ever see our city again – welcome home.
Fort McMurray lived up to its reputation as one of the toughest and most resilient communities – whether it was the round-the-clock support from volunteers, or the tireless efforts from first responders who saved 90 per cent of our city.
In the past month, we have seen extraordinary acts of heroism from every corner of the world, who donated their time and resources to help those affected by the most devastating wildfire our province has ever seen.
That extraordinary heroism continues to this day, as our brave firefighters and international volunteers who now stand with them, continue to battle the flames.
We will never forget the way they answered the call of duty and worked day and night to save our community.
Now that we’ve begun to return, we must cross another bridge, and take stock of what’s been lost – and saved.
What’s most important, however, is the safety and security of our people. While it breaks our hearts to lose photographs and priceless heirlooms, there is no replacement for the people we love.
We understand the pain of losing the things we cherish. But as we rebuild, we will make new memories and new friends.
It is time to pick up our shovels and start setting things right.
Cleaning up and rebuilding will not be easy. It will take courage and strength – and it will take all of us working together to make our city better than it was before.
But we know the people of Fort McMurray are up to the task. We know the people of this community are some of the most resourceful, handy and hardworking people on the planet, and we have the utmost faith in them.
This emergency showed the world a different side of Fort McMurray. We are compassionate, caring and committed to safety. We are a community with an unbreakable spirit.
Even when the spotlight dims, and the time for extraordinary heroism has passed, the people of Fort McMurray will be as brave and resilient as ever, ready to do the hard work that needs to be done.
We look forward to working with those in our community who find themselves in need of a pair of helping hands. The rebuild will, in many ways, define our future, as we re-establish ourselves as Canada’s economic engine.
So as you begin to make your way back to our beloved city, remember to be safe. Take hope in the fact that your neighbours are with you. And know that we will rebuild stronger than ever.
Photo: MLAs Brian Jean and Tany Yao on Day 1 of re-entry into Fort McMurray with a truckload of food donated by the Edmonton Food Bank.
Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo
On May 3, our city and the people who call it home changed forever.
Even in the face of such horror, our community braved it, and the strength and resilience of this community and its people have been nothing short of impressive. The vibe in this city right now is amazing – so positive. It truly reflects that big heart everyone always mentions when talking about Fort McMurray.
It’s great to see the resiliency of our residents as well as the bond that was reinforced not only with Albertans, but Canadians.
This is a very human story and tragedy. People’s lives were ripped apart. The uncertainty was, and remains, difficult.
From the onset of this disaster, I have been impressed so many times by so many people.
How people were able to evacuate in a relatively calm and safe manner; the fortitude of our emergency services: Firefighters and paramedics, and RCMP and bylaw. All the fuel trucks that kept the fire fighting vehicles filled up. To seeing how people came together to offer help: volunteers and companies that travelled Highway 63 with gas for those who’d run out; water, food, even diapers for stranded families.
Visiting the evacuation relief centres and being made aware of all the charity fundraisers held across the province for our benefit were such humbling experiences. It was the outpouring of support and generosity from people recognizing that Fort McMurray has always given so much and now we needed their help. The response was overwhelming. I heard that lot. People talking about the economic benefit this community provides this province and other areas in the country, and the donations that come from this community for other causes in the province.
I was impressed by the empathy from the media. They really portrayed Fort McMurray as the community it truly is.
I was impressed by the reactiveness by some of the individual volunteers who came in to support. There were people like Betty from Grande Prairie who came up with two friends, bringing food and cooking items. Along with a local homeless man, they were the team feeding the emergency workers staged at MacIsland.
During the re-entry of the residents to Fort McMurray, it was wonderful to see neighbours hugging neighbours, some of whom didn’t really know each before. It was amazing to see all the smiles at all the reception centres. I encountered no negativity. Everyone was so positive and happy.
The welcome home signs posted along the highway were a nice touch and seeing the firefighters on the King Street bridge waving to people as they drove by with that giant Canadian flag was incredible.
I find it amazing that we have such strong positive feelings here in Fort McMurray, even though we have so much work ahead of us.
It is this community’s heart, compassion and resilience that will be key to rebuilding our city to its original greatness and even more.
Photo: MLAs Brian Jean and Tany Yao join Dr. David Matear, Northern Lights Hospital’s Senior Operating Director for a tour of the Mobile Hospital, which was set up to treat first responders during the evacuation.