Jesse Willms: Giving To The Red Cross To Help The Victims Of The Slave Lake Forest Fire

Posted by Jesse Willms on May 19, 2011

More often than not, a disaster seems like something that happens far away from us. We see images of devastation in Japan or starvation in Africa, and feel like it is something that only other people are dealing with.

This week, the residents of Alberta learned that it could happen to us as well.

For those of you who are not from this area, let me give you a summary. Earlier this week, forest fires blazed up in Slave Lake, Alberta. Since then, dozens of subdivisions have been destroyed and more than 7,000 families have lost their homes.

What’s particularly upsetting is that there are indications the fire was manmade – either caused by a campfire that wasn’t fully put out, or worse, arson.

The good news is that there are good people and organizations out there that are working hard to contain the fire and provide food and shelter to those worst affected by this local disaster.

It should come as no surprise that the lead agency on site is the Canadian Red Cross. The Red Cross is nearly always the first to respond to disasters around the world.

Today, I donated $5,000 to the Canadian Red Cross to help them with their relief efforts in Slave Lake. They are out there right now helping our friends and neighbors who have become victims of this terrible tragedy.

I’ve always supported the Red Cross – whether they were helping disaster victims in Japan, or earthquake victims in Haiti. Now I support them again, when the pain has struck much closer to home.

I encourage you to do the same. Nobody is immune from natural or manmade disasters. When you help the Red Cross today, you make it easier for them to help you tomorrow.

Once the area has been given the all clear, I also plan to volunteer my time with agencies that are rebuilding Slave Lake. Whether they need help building houses or clearing debris, I will be there to do whatever it takes.

I just feel it’s my responsibility as a member of the Edmonton community.