Today marks one year ago that I along with two other ladies, drove up to the City of Fort McMurray which had been evacuated. 88,000 people fled their homes. This was a ghost town save for the Firefighters and other first responders.

During that evacuation Deputy Fire Chief Cranley Ryan's daughter and her friend were killed in a horrific vehicle crash. Mercifully, for a city about to loose so much, these two young and promising lives were the only lives lost.

However, every life touched by the Beast, would remain forever changed.

There are numerous documentaries, numerous stories being told.

Mine is just one of many.

Like millions of horrified Canadians, I watched the Beast threaten Fort Mac and force an evacuation of epic proportion on May 3rd, 2016.

On May 4th I heard Fire Chief Darby Allen say his men and women were exhausted and hungry and my heart was called to go feed people.

Lynda Klouth and Jessica Kappel journeyed with me up there, Jessie to stay and fight fires, Lynda left to go and get more supplies and I stayed to feed people.
I am grateful for the journey that took me to Fort McMurray.

It taught me so much about myself and others. In most cases my faith in human nature was restored.

Some of the memories from Fort Mac are painful, like watching a fire fighter trying to look after his swollen and blistered feet, blisters on the soles over an inch think and yet, when his captain called, he jammed his feet back in his boot and off he went...watching men and women who were so exhausted they were trembling, sleeping on the hard ground, the floor - literally dropping out of sheer exhaustion. Being interrogated by the police three times and on Mother's Day of all days...

Some of the memories are sweet, tender and heartwarming like the little girl who recognized fire fighter Jessica Kappel and ran up to her to thank her.  Or the Edmonton Fire Department taking over the cooking of Breakfast on Mother's Day along with Jeremy Hall, making sure all moms and ladies got a special breakfast thanks to the Pine Haven Hutterite Colony and their farm fresh eggs and homemade sausage.  Another sweet moment is when Keltie May Nicole replaced my stolen "Sparky" dog with one out of her team's Fire rig.

Yes the Beast stole a lot in those days, but actually, I think in someways it gave back far more....
It gave me back faith in humanity, in myself and it has changed how I view tragedy.

For those who are interested, see is a list of the articles I wrote - my diary if you will:

Part One:

Part Two:

Part Three:

Part 4:

Part 5:

Part 6:

Part 7:

Part 8:

Glenn Chaulk - Syncrude Fire
Until next time, I am Belt Drive Betty, Editor & Rider and one GRATEFUL human being!

Ride Safe....

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