I Have the Powwer!
My husband's family likes to joke about Ford vehicles. We sit around and giggle and change the names of the vehicles such as: Ford Explosion = Ford Excursion or Mercury Mistake = Mercury Mystique, and of course Ford Power Stroke = Ford Power Joke and so on. I am sure others have heard the acronym that Ford stands for Found On Road Dead and the like. Recently I saw a Facebook post that made me cry for joy.
A lady named Rhonda Clark Bignell posted the story:
On May 3, 2016 nearly 90,000 people were evacuated to Edmonton which was the closest major area, more than 4 hours away. There were only a few gas stations along the way, and thousands of evacuees ran out of gas and were stranded along Highway 63.
We all waited for authorities to step in and solve the problem. We waited, not wanting to get in the way of the agencies that would be helping. We tried calling several agencies to see how we could help, to see what was being done. Nothing happened. People were now stranded on Highway 63 nearing 12 hours with their children and pets, on a very hot day, with no food or water. Stranded evacuees began asking for help on social media.
That's when something amazing happened. There was a group on Facebook called WESTERN CANADIAN POWERSTROKES.
As far as anyone knows, this is just a facebook group of proud Ford diesel owners. On the morning of the second day, the WCP group arranged fuel tanker trucks and purchased fuel and water and other supplies and sent them to Highway 63. Word was, by the end of the day, the WCP group supplied over 60,000 liters of fuel. Dozens and dozens of WCP members went out with fuel tidy tanks in the back of their trucks and would fill up at the tanker trucks and go to stranded vehicles. Dozens more brought cases and cases of bottled water in the back of their trucks, towed cargo trailers of supplies, and towed horse trailers. Each time someone went out to Highway 63 to help out, they were looking at least at a 800 km (500 mile) round trip.
By the end of the second day all the stranded motorists were finally on their way. However, over the next several days WCP continued to supply free fuel to anyone heading south from Fort McMurray, no questions asked.
Pretty soon word was getting out about WCP. On day 3 of the evacuation, WCP began to realize pets and livestock weren't getting out of Fort McMurray. Many people had to leave immediately from their work, so many animals would be out of food for days and running out of water. WCP then became involved in helping with rescue pets and livestock, and pushed for horse trailers to be able to get into the evacuation areas to rescue horses.
This story sounds a little crazy, it sounds like maybe it's a bit exaggerated, but I kid you not, Western Canadian Powerstrokes was the main presence on Highway 63. Before the disaster I never heard of WCP. But in the 6 days that people and animals were being evacuated from Fort McMurray, WCP was the only group I heard about that was providing assistance along Highway 63.
On May 8th, every person and pet possible was evacuated from Fort McMurray, the city is now sealed and nobody will be able to get in until the fires are out. When that will be, nobody knows. Right now, on May 9th, fires are still burning inside the city and the forests around McMurray are still raging. Now Highway 63 is taken care of, Western Canadian Powerstrokes are now busy hauling supplies to the huge number of evacuation centers spread throughout northern Alberta.
Part of the miracle of this story (that only happened last week...actually it is still happening...) is that these "Lovers of Ford" were going into a fiery danger zone WITH TANKERS FULL OF FUEL!! I am not quite sure if I realize the magnitude of that...I need some chocolate.
I was so excited to read this post because I re-learned a few things from it.
- Always have my tank half full
- One person can make a huge difference
- Look for the heroes*
- Waiting for agencies to help may take longer than I want to wait in an emergency
- How high on my list is extra fuel?
- If the WCP hadn't come when they did, it is possible people could have died without much needed supplies.
- Emergency vehicles and personnel can't get to thousands at once
The Rest of the Story....
I also read an article about this same fire emergency in Alberta, Canada written by a man named Mathew Clements. They could see warning signs but were unprepared when they actually evacuated. He says he could see the smoke, but kept living life because they were in no immediate danger. Within an instant they were in trouble and needed to get out now!
He says, "Looking back on it now, it feels like that metaphor of the frog in the slowly boiling pot of water. We were so focused on getting settled in our new home, preparing for a catastrophe wasn't on our minds. Brush fires happen, there's no need to panic, we're find. We were fine until we weren't."
He started packing, but was in a panic "What should I pack? How much? Clothes? Passports?"
When he getting ready to leave, "This radio station said go North, another said to go South. Family says to go North. Friends say to go South." They eventually headed South.
They made it safe, but his wife kept saying, "We should have been more prepared."
Reminders in this story:
- Keep my car 72 hour kit up to date (when did I rotate food and water last?)
- Keep my personal 72 hour kits in a place I can get them
- Again, keep that tank at least half full
- Do I have my PIP (Plan In Place) up to date?
- If it looks as though we might need to evacuate...err on the side of safety and evacuate.
- Do I have a fresh battery for my scanner/ radio?
- Am I in close contact with the Holy Ghost so I can make a good decision between North or South?
It is unlikely that where I live (in the middle of the hot barren desert) that I might have to evacuate because of fire...however, Mother Nature has many, many tricks up her sleeve so there could be many reasons to leave everything behind and be ready for such an occurrence no matter where you live.
Here is more on what a PIP is and how you can get your very own. :)
Though I will still continue to drive my GMC, hats off and many thanks to the WCP and all those who came to the rescue. You touched the heart of a little gal thousands of miles away. They are incredible examples of courage and service which the world needs more of.
* This asterisk is to clarify "Look for the Heroes". When we went to Boston several months ago we attended a church service in Cambridge. One of the speakers spoke about the then recent incident of the terror attack in San Bernardino, California. The speaker had been talking to a loved one asking how it was allowed to happen. These people were innocent. The response was,"Look for the heroes." There will always be bad things that happen (natural or man made). There will also always be those who protect and lift in times of trouble. "I got you" is what Mr. Shannon Johnson told Ms. Denise Paraza as he shielded her from bullets. That is what we need to focus on. The good guys and life savers.