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Friendship born out of shared passion for helping people

There is an unlikely friendship - Alzinia Pailin is an American Red Cross volunteer from California and Marie Bernatchez is a French speaking Canadian Red Cross volunteer from Quebec. But after being paired together on a three-week deployment in the small town of Lac La Biche, south of Fort McMurray, as part of the Alberta fire response, the two women found much common ground including their work as Red Cross volunteers and quickly became friends.
 
They were part of a team of Red Cross volunteers who provided assistance to people who sought shelter in Lac La Biche after the evacuation. Marie and Alzinia also travelled to neighbouring small communities to provide support to people who were  impacted by the fire.
 

“We enjoy working with people, we laugh, and we make a really good team,” says Alzinia, who is amazed at how resilient people are.

 
Marie has previously assisted in several large-scale disasters in her home province, include the Lac-Mégantic response and flooding in Richelieu. She also deployed to Saskatchewan last summer after dozens of communities were evacuated due to fires.
 
Alzinia has been a volunteer with the American Red Cross for seven years and has responded to more than two dozen large disasters in the US. This is her first time responding to a disaster internationally.
 
Learn more about volunteering with the Red Cross
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