When forest fires ripped through Northern Alberta and devastated the city of Fort McMurray in early May, the initial reaction was predictable - shock and awe.
But as that astonishment began to subside and reality set in, it was time to take action. While kind thoughts and well wishes were much appreciated, the people of Fort McMurray needed help in rebuilding their community, and lots of it.
As the nation looked for ways to lend their support, the transportation industry did the same, with trucking companies from coast-to-coast getting involved in a variety of ways.
Trucking associations chipped in with donations and coordination efforts, local trucking companies provided immediate assistance and organizations as far east as the Maritimes moved loads of important emergency supplies across the country. It was a great example of the impact our industry can have when we work together for a cause.
At Bison, it was a team effort too. From office staff and Technicians to Drivers and warehouse staff, the entire organization rallied to quickly be of assistance to those in need.
Our Bison Cares campaign helped us raise over $8,000 for the Red Cross Relief Fund during the month of May and that amount was matched by the government, generating a total of over $16,000 for the relief efforts.
But more than just monetary contributions, Bison took advantage of the resources at our disposal to further our impact. We solicited donations of non-perishable food, clothing, toiletries and more from our team and the community, sorted through them to make sure they were usable and loaded them into trailers to be shipped to Northern Alberta.
Our Edmonton terminal served as the hub for all our donations, filling a total of four trailers that went to Fort McMurray. In addition to the internal donations, Bison partnered with some of our customers to move another 18 loads into the area. Among the organizations who donated goods were the Calgary Food Bank, Loblaws, North Star Ford, Petslink, Petsmart and Versa Pets. Thanks to all of our partners who quickly made supplies available in a time of need.
Of course none of this would’ve been possible without the help of our Drivers, who generously donated their time in moving loads throughout the country. More than 20 Drivers expressed interest in helping out and, based on timing and location, we had 12 who generously donated their time.
A huge thanks to the following Drivers: Benjamin Davies, Harpreet Dhaliwal, Harold Fortune, Harwinder Girn, Paul Haukenfrers, Mark Loewen, Al Nicholet, Bob Richardson, Yong Jian Shen and Lenny Wiebe. Your efforts were vital in making this a possibility.
Looking back on the Fort McMurray wildfires, and the rebuild process that continues to take place, it’s important to note that while the event was tragic in many ways, it also brought out the best in people across our great country.
As we celebrate the 149th birthday of our great country, Bison, and the trucking industry as a whole, is proud to be among the many who have worked, and will continue to work, to bring back Fort Mac!