Battle River-Wainwright MLA and Municipal Affairs Minister Doug Griffiths (blue shirt)

Flood response reflects power of ‘human spirit’

Municipal Affairs Minister Doug Griffiths was not only in the frontlines during the southern Alberta flooding.

Municipal Affairs Minister Doug Griffiths was not only in the frontlines during the southern Alberta flooding.

He was also personally impacted.

“If I learned anything from this experience, (it’s that) nothing is tougher than the human spirit and sense of community,” Griffiths said Saturday during a Bashaw fundraiser for the High River flood victims.

“Ultimately, you can’t be prepared for every emergency.”

The Bashaw community raised more than $1,000 at a community benefit concert and picnic.

“We raised about $1,200,” said organizer Jackie Northey. “We had some great volunteers and wonderful entertainment, which showcased our community talents and generosity, and we are very grateful for those that attended.”

Griffiths, the MLA for Battle River-Wainwright, and his family were guests at the event at Bashaw Agricultural Grounds.

A family from High River was touched by the support from central Albertans.

“People around Alberta are so nice to us,” said Elaine Mason, a resident and former town councillor in High River who has a summer residence at Pelican Point on Buffalo Lake.

“It’s great that other communities do this. We are awed and so thankful how people have given us support.”

She attended the Bashaw event with her son, Brad, and grandchildren, Levi, Abigail and Baxter.

As songs expressed the message of hope, love and caring for one another, the local MLA was touched.

“When they sang Alleluia, it brought tears to my eyes,” Griffiths said. “This has been an emotional roller-coaster.

“One minute, I’m pumped up, and the next minute, I see someone is in tears because they’ve lost everything and it brings tears to my eyes.”

Griffiths said he’s more than willing to further help High River and Mayor Emile Blokland, a former Stettler councillor and businessman.

“Mayor Blokland and council and the provincial government have done a wonderful job,” Mason said.

“The community overall has been positive and working well together.”

With roots in the 115-year-old community, her home was flooded up the ceiling in the basement, while one of her sons lost his business.

Just three per cent of High River, with a population of 13,000, wasn’t directly impacted by the flood damage, Mason said.

Big Valley fundraiser Thursday

More help is on the way for flood victims in southern Alberta. A benefit barbecue and pie auction is set for this Thursday in Big Valley.

The Wildrose Drumheller-Stettler Constituency Association hosts the event at Big Valley Jubilee Hall. MLA Rick Strankman and association members invite residents to the gathering, featuring a spit-roasted pig barbecue, beginning with cocktails at 5:30 p.m., and dinner at 6:30.

Together with a homemade pie auction, proceeds will go to Southern Alberta Flood Relief.

Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith was among the thousands of High River residents affected by the flooding in late June.

MLA Strankman helped to address flooding issues in Drumheller, the southern-most part of his riding.

Tickets for the fundraiser are $100 a plate and include a $75 tax credit. For tickets, phone Gina Bossert at 403-5130 or 403-740-3183, or Gary Wilyman at 403-742-4405 or 403-740-6370.

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