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No hesitation for Quebec Red Cross volunteer in helping with Alberta fires

Guest post by Cindy Baillargeon, Red Cross volunteer, Terrebonne
 
The last few weeks have been busy ones for Cindy Baillargeon, a Red Cross volunteer from the Lanaudière region of Quebec: she spent them in Alberta, helping out Fort McMurray evacuees.
 
When she saw images of the wildfires on the news, she knew that the Red Cross was bound to be involved. It wasn’t long before the call for volunteers came through, and she accepted without a second thought.

“I had been thinking ahead. I told a colleague at work that if the Red Cross needed me there, I would definitely be gone for a few weeks.”

Cindy Baillargeon, a Red Cross volunteer from the Lanaudière region of Quebec in AlbertaThis was not a first for Cindy, which explains why she was able to leave for Alberta so quickly. As the lead volunteer of her Red Cross response team in Terrebonne, which is in the Des Moulins RCM, she has had to travel to disaster scenes in her area more than once to provide relief to those affected. Last year, she also helped with the evacuation of aboriginal communities fleeing wildfires in Northern Ontario, and more recently, she supported the Syrian refugee arrival response in Canada.
 
Cindy supervised a team of volunteers in Alberta. “We moved through a number of small remote communities between Edmonton and Calgary. We met a lot of evacuees from Fort McMurray. We quickly realized that the needs were enormous, and many of them were stressed out. Obviously, they had been through a lot. Some were in tears, and others reduced us to tears with the stories they had to tell. One thing is sure: they were very grateful for the help the Red Cross was able to provide.”

Cindy says that every experience she has with the Red Cross is new and different. “I really enjoyed my involvement in Alberta. The Red Cross is like a big family in which you know you are doing something useful. I met volunteers from across Canada, and even some people from the American Red Cross. I know I’m going to miss them until next time, because if I can, I would like to come back this summer and continue helping with the Red Cross operations in Fort McMurray.”

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