I don't know how many parts this series will be.  There are SOOOO many stories I want to share with you. Why? Because this riding community stepped up in ways that have me trembling with pride.

The mainstream media, to this point has purposefully ignored acknowledging the efforts of we riders.

Every time I think about the generosity of the people in my community, both Grande Prairie and the Riding community my heart swells with pride and my eyes fill with tears.

I want to start at the very beginning with how I came to decide on heading to Fort Mac.
Wednesday morning, May 4th at 6 am I was watching the news, I had been feeling so impotent and wanted desperately for there to be something I could do.

Darby Allen, the Fire Chief came on and mentioned his front line responders had no food or water and immediately I knew what I could do.

One phone call, two emails and one Facebook post later and we were on the road to Fort McMurray with what would turn out to be the first of many truckload of supplies that were needed.

Lynda Klouth, the contractor who runs the BKC News Bytes, Grande Prairie and Region agreed to drive me up there with her diesel truck and holiday trailer.

Costco kicked in $350 worth of supplies over and above what we paid for and UFA in Grande Prairie and Athabasca made sure we had fuel....

Jeremy Hall from Ruby Ridge Contracting, a rider with the Condemned Ones MC reached out and said he'd be coming up with supplies but he also had a Fire Fighter out of Grovedale who needed a ride up to Fort Mac.

We picked Jessy Kappel - the Firefighter from Grovedale who has 7 of her blood brothers who were working on the front line - all firefighters!

We headed to Fort Mac with Jessy making calls arranging for fuel and other much needed supports, Lynda driving and me building sandwiches as we went.

We hit the Anzac roadblock at 6pm. The fire was jumping the highway and we could not get in, but we started feeding RCMP officers on the highway - many of them explaining that while there was a camp about 10 KMS away, many of them hadn't eaten in 10 and 12 hours.  Sandwiches, water, fruit and veggie trays were passed out and devoured in short order!

At Azac Road Block

We waited at the roadblock for what felt like forever.
Jessy was chomping at the bit to get these supplies and herself up there to do her logistics and firefighting job.

I forget the exact time when Anzac's Command centre went up in smoke. But we saw all of the evacuation buses and the Black plumes of smoke and then the fire - right beside us on the highway.  The RCMP moved us to the opposite side of the highway heading back south to wait out the evacuation measure, so we watched it all.  It was terrifying.

Evacuation buses for ANZAC

At about 11:30 pm on May 4th we were finally escorted into Mac Island to set up our food station.

The very first firefighter we served was a big man who anchored out his rig and got out of the fire truck just vibrating with fatigue from head to toe. He asked if by chance this food was for them and when I old him that yes, we motorcyclists of Alberta were here to serve them he picked me up and crying told me I was his angel, that he hadn't eaten in 62 hours, he'd been surviving on Ritz Crackers and granola bars.

And story after story was the same - OMG Coffee, I haven't had coffee in two days...this sandwich is the best thing in the world - I haven't eaten in two days or 24 hours....

And I made sure that every firefighter, EMT, RCMP officer, truck driver etc knew that BIKERS - RIDERS were responsible for making this happen.

The view at 1 AM from our food station at MAC ISLAND

I worked with Lynda's help, through the night making sandwiches and coffee and doing our best to raise the spirits of our boys and girls. We worked all day Thursday and through into Friday morning Linda headed back to Grande Prairie for another load of supplies late on Thursday. In the mean time, Jeremy Hall from Ruby Ridge Contracting had brought down a load of supplies and Will Skinner - both of them just pitched in and began helping to feed people.

On Thursday morning, Brian Jean opposition leader from the Wild Rose Party and Tany Yao also from the Wild Rose representing Wood Buffalo stopped by - their kind words were deeply appreciate by those of us feeding our fire fighters.

More to follow - but I need to get on the road to Two Hills to present them their trophy and road signs. Then back to Fort Mac with more supplies.

If you are blessed to be riding today, please ride like everyone around you is blind and cannot see you.

Belt Drive Betty,
Editor & Rider

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  1. BETTY- my hubby dave was there from last Thursday until this past Monday from edmonton he was so thankfull for you and the other bikers. We weeded out at the beginning of the week and I some on 92.5 fresh am hoping to get the word out about you. So glad you got your well deserved praise. My man -Dave from edmoton- will be so happy thank you for taking care of him and all the others .