Bachelorette Star Visits Slave Lake to Raise Spirits and Funds
By Nicole Farn
Extreme Home Makeover and Bachelorette star Jillian Harris grew tearful as she toured some of the fire ravaged areas on Slave Lake with Canadian Red Cross Disaster Response volunteer Leila Brown.
One month following the wildfire evacuation of 15,000 residents of Slave Lake and surrounding communities, Jillian was on the ground in Slave Lake. Accompanied by Canadian Red Cross personnel, she toured the affected areas of the town. Accustomed to being on the construction side of homes, the sheer scale of the destruction of 350 homes left her visibly shaken. Pausing only to reach out for support to Red Cross from her thousands of Twitter followers, she was eager to learn about the process of moving forward, Red Cross’ next steps, and how she could help get the word out.
Bachelorette Jillian Harris, who grew up in Peace River, spent some time talking to families who lost their Slave Lake homes during the Alberta Wildfires in May, and marvelled later at their resilience and commitment to move forward.
“These are people who are dedicated to helping others...people making huge sacrifices just to know they are making a difference,” she commented with awe.
Jillian herself is also using her gifts to make a difference. By attending events, speaking up for the cause and reaching out online, she is getting the word out about the need that continues to exist.
“I have been blessed with opportunities,” said the celebrity. “I am happy that I can be a voice and that with keystrokes I can educate people.”
After visiting with local families and witnessing the resolve of the local community to forge ahead, Jillian recognized that a lot can be learned from the people of Slave Lake about resilience. With happy memories of spending summers on Slave Lake growing up, Jillian is not surprised by the ripple of strength that can be sensed throughout the community she remembers so fondly.
“There’s something about the people from Slave Lake - from Alberta - such a tight knit community. I feel connected.”
As she visited with a 10-year-old girl, discussing the design scheme of her future bedroom – pink - Jillian’s genuine desire to help was obvious. Although she arrived feeling anxious and heavyhearted, she left feeling determined to raise support, through the Red Cross relief effort, for those who have been affected by the Northern Alberta Wildfires and for the rebuilding of the Town of Slave Lake.
“Forgive the cliché,” she said, as her visit to her former stomping grounds was coming to a close. “But it just feels like home to me.”
Visit Jillian’s Website at: www.jillianharris.com/ or follow her on Twitter @jillianharris