A year ago, Aviva Canada employees and broker partners across the country who received training as Red Cross volunteers through their national Ready When the Time Comes partnership were called upon to help. The task: providing assistance to the thousands of people forced to evacuate Fort McMurray and the surrounding region as a result of wildfires.

From volunteering in Red Cross call centres to evacuation centres, a total of 54 Aviva staff members and broker partners in eight cities contributed more than 500 hours in support of the Red Cross Alberta Fires response.

Stephanie Robinson is one of the Aviva employees from Calgary who quickly answered the call to help and spent three days volunteering in centres set up in Calgary to assist evacuees. As a frontline volunteer, she helped people receive urgent assistance such as clothing, food and referrals to other services.

She recalls helping a young man who came in with a bandaged foot from an injury incurred during the evacuation, who had been sleeping in his car and hadn’t yet received assistance. That experience has stayed with her and she’s proud of the fact that she was able to help him obtain new government ID and medical assistance at that difficult point in his life.

With many years of experience as a property adjustor, Stephanie knew firsthand the stress that people go through when they have lost everything.

“Now that I’ve worked with the Red Cross, I realize the importance of them. You see it. Everybody is accepted.”

Stephanie Robinson is a dedicated volunteer in her community and would do it again in a heartbeat. 
“I believe in paying it forward. You hope that if you were in that situation, people would be there to help you.”
 

Bounty Peralta has worked at Aviva Canada since 2014 and was trained as a Ready When the Time Comes volunteer with Red Cross. For Bounty, volunteering with the Red Cross during the Alberta Fires response was particularly meaningful because he has personally experienced disasters in the past.
Bounty Peralta has worked at Aviva Canada since 2014 and was trained as a Ready When the Time Comes volunteer with Red Cross
When he lived in the Philippines, he was impacted by the 1990 earthquake in Baguio City and recalls the support he and his family received from the Red Cross including tents to provide shelter as well as food. He also experienced the effects of a volcano eruption in the Philippines in 1991 and more recently, witnessed flooding in 2013 in Calgary.

As a result of these personal experiences, Bounty could relate to the hardships people were experiencing following the evacuation of Fort McMurray.

“We had this one evacuee who came in with her daughter and was requesting to get kitchen utensils to cook. When people are in that situation, they tend to look for ways to cope. I’ve experienced that and understand it,” says Bounty. He was able to provide her with a gift card so she could purchase the things that she needed to return to a semblance of normalcy during this challenging time.

We’re thankful for support from Aviva Canada and their dedicated Ready When the Time Comes volunteers. Learn more about our national partnership