Helping hands reach out to evacuees

Helping hands reach out to evacuees

Early Sunday afternoon Diane Smith from McBride and Eldon Sutter from Red Deer were seen holding up signs offering free fuel for evacuees.

At that time Sutter’s truck was parked just off the highway east side of McBride.

Sutter, who left Red Deer this morning, was carrying 450 litres of gas and 300 litres of diesel. The donations were a coordinated effort organized by WCP (Western Canadian Powerstrokes) out of Fort MacMurray. The WCP group organized a mass effort to help BC evacuees, including refrigerator trucks full of food and gooseneck trailers of fuel, they even helped put out fires.

“Marty Frost [of WCP] helped organize the donations,” says Sutter. “MGM Ford Lincoln from Red Deer donated fuel, and I also received a cash donation through a lady called Tina Rogers to purchase fuel.” Sutter also put in some of his own cash.

Originally Sutter was headed to Quesnel, but then got word that relief had come through already. He headed to Prince George and ultimately ended up in McBride.

“I figured it’s a small town, and there are a lot of evacuees passing through,” he said.

Sutter said that at first there was a line-up, but as traffic became congested, many vehicles went on through. The RCMP later moved them to the Comfort Centre.

By evening, Sutter said that he had given away about 550 litres of fuel. Some of the travellers were pulling extra loads, like horse trailers or boats.

When commended for donating his resources, time, and effort Sutter says that’s just something he’s been raised to do. Sutter comes from a farming family. Both he and his dad are fire fighters, his dad for over 25 years and Sutter for 16. 

On one side of a sign Sutter was holding up, it says “Alberta Loves BC”.

Since Monday McBride has operated a Comfort Centre at the Community Centre run by volunteers. It provides a place for evacuees to stop and rest, eat something, and maybe stock up on a few personal necessities. 

A similar centre has just opened up in Valemount at the Anglican United Church at Cedar Street and 7th Avenue. 

Both are open from 9:00 am – 9:00 pm.

Helping hands reach out to evacuees