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Alberta Flood: Sites of Reality

Alberta Flood: Sites of Reality

Posted on: July 05, 2013
Author: Jennifer Kohle

Glenn Kubish is ATB's Director of Media & Story. His job is to share ATB's corporate story, but today he shares his own—what he saw and how he felt helping out with his fellow ATBers in High River. As he writes, it was a surreal experience—and also a very real one.

The ATB crew from Edmonton helps out in High River on Thursday, July 4. (Photo by Aminah Syed)

Surreal is the adjective of choice these days for Albertans confronted with post-flood scenes that are strange, bizarre, unimaginable.

And there were enough of those surreal pictures waiting for us Thursday in High River as busloads of ATBers from Edmonton and Calgary arrived to help with the cleanup.

Twisted railroad tracks in High River, Alberta

Motor boats caked in slurried soil.

Houses shifted off their foundations.

A stretch of railway line twisted like a rollercoaster track. All surreal.

But life in the disaster zone of High River is also, from another perspective, not as much surreal as simply real.

If by real you mean the reality of mud and drywall and mould and insulation and the shovels and pails and muscle work needed to haul them out to real, groaning dumpsters.

And if by real you mean the reality of sandwiches and fruit and cookies and water shared by the grateful homeowners with the ATB crews.

It's all so real, if by real you mean what it all is, which is the opportunity for kindness and hospitality to flow with as much unchannelled force as the Highwood River itself did last week.

Here's something else that's real: ATB Financial is the kind of workplace that allows, encourages its associates to answer the call to help.

And there is one last thing that is real, and that's the need for more volunteers to spend time cleaning up in High River. If you can, go. Really.

- Glenn

More stories from the floods:

Silver lining
Animal Farmer
Open volunteer arms
A friend of a friend
Tears and drywall