At four-thirty in the morning after the big wind storm, we were awakened to the buzzing sound of chainsaws close by. Crawling reluctantly out of bed I went to investigate and found city crews cutting down two of our big spruce trees that the wind had blown over onto several power lines. By this time our power had been off for nine and a half hours. Two and a half hours later, our power returned.
This was certainly the worst wind storm I had ever experienced in the 62 years I have lived in Red Deer. In both our walks and drives around the city we were totally amazed at the great amount of destruction, and certainly dismayed to see our beautiful city so damaged.
A few days before, we had a visitor for a week who repeatedly verbally stated that she was impressed by the luscious beauty of our city and our parkland. So in our agreement with her assessment we were saddened by the devastation.
As the day after wore on, we saw things and we thought to ourselves, “How like the people of Red Deer to run around, picking up debris that was on city property, loading it on a truck and taking it away.” One man in a pick-up took on a load of branches completely filling up his truck from the playground across the street from us.
This made me stop and reflect on the giving and helping nature of so many of Red Deer’s citizens. I know that I have mentioned it before in relation to the kitchen, but this was a solid reminder that in Red Deer we are graced with many people whose very nature is one of service to this fair city and by extension to the rest of our community.
Since I am a studier of different behaviours of people, it has never been for their giving and generous natures. Sadly, it always seems to involve the negative side of life, so now the other side of the coin presents itself and I find myself really not questioning the motives.
One reason is one that I find at the kitchen constantly – gratitude. Many of the folks that eat at the kitchen, out of thankfulness will volunteer to help clean-up after a meal or in many cases offer to help prepare a meal. They will clean windows, sweep the walks and many other required tasks as well.
Some feel that they have a responsibility or an obligation to do all types of public service as residents of the community. I’m not overly sure of the reason that they feel that way, but the results are most often to the total benefit of our city.
Then there is that one category that leaves a permanent impression on not only me but the entire community, and that is that many people just love to give. Not only give as in time and resources, but giving that encourages and builds other people up. I dare not question that type of behaviour, but when you look around at the many things that the residents of our beautiful city do, wondering why is just part of the response by the recipients.
Red Deer can be proud of the excellent service that we receive from the city employees; even a visitor can acknowledge the results. They really rise to the occasion when they need to, but the efforts of the many unpaid residents who step in and help is tremendous. Thank you Red Deer.
We should always be cognizant of the efforts of others and let them know we appreciate them. We don’t do that often enough, but then every once in a while we are reminded; sometimes – It only takes a storm!
Chris Salomons is the kitchen co-ordinator at Potter’s Hands in Red Deer.