I have to say, I am blown away by the outpouring of kindness for the survivors of the Aug. 29 Wolverine Fire.
Our pages have been filled with stories of generosity, self-sacrifice and goodwill towards the 10-or-more people who lost their homes, possessions and just about everything other than their lives. From fundraising efforts put on through raffles, lotteries and bingos, combined with donations given during the Town of Inuvik’s first-ever drive-in theatre, in one weekend the community raised in excess of $10,000.
But even before that, residents were already opening their hearts and wallets to help out. GoFundMes set up for the families right from the get-go have been bringing in donations to help and as of this writing have brought in a total of $59,734. The people of Inuvik and the Beaufort Delta brought that together in less than a month.
Meanwhile, a person who was caught without the right insurance won’t be buried in the rubble after Town Council and Administration — and landfill contractor Harder Enterprises — opted to waive tipping fees for the person to handle the site clean-up. Governments and businesses taking the financial hit, modest as it is at a maximum of $1,750, really stands in contrast to how other jurisdictions have been handling the ongoing crisis that 2020 has become. For example, in my birth-province of Alberta the Jason Kenney government is causing widespread panic among people incapable of working for reasons beyond their control by talking about re-working Applied Income for the Severely Handicapped — for the third time in his not even two-year old term.
Back to the good guys. Another amazing case of Canadian generosity is in this week’s edition in the story of a young musician who lost all of his guitars in the fire. Music teacher (at least in non-Covid years) Abe Drennan tells me that John Dillon was a daily visitor to the music room to practice his craft, regardless of how busy his schooling went. So to lose the ability to chase your passion in such a rough year must have been devastating.
Enter Liege Macdonald, who just got to Inuvik a month ago from Halifax. A long-time musician himself, he understands the lifelong-relationship between a guitar player and his axe. So he opted to part with one of his to get the young man back to strumming.
It’s no secret that this year has been looking bleaker and bleaker as time pushes on. While the federal government racks up deficits trying to keep the economy going and prevent widespread homelessness, Forbes recently reported that Canada’s top-2o billionaires made a collective $2 billion during the last six months. Money is as poorly distributed throughout as generosity or goodwill towards our fellow human beings.
Not so here in the Beaufort. We are truly rich in our kindness and our character. The willingness for people to offer a helping hand, either financial or some other equal measure of kindness, without question or critique shows the level of maturity the Beaufort and Mackenzie Deltas have.
As our world continues to spin out of control and the fires of 2020 rage on, there is no place I would rather be. Give yourself a pat on the back Inuvik. The world could learn a lot from you.