By ​Justine Antoine-Roy, Canadian Red Cross

Recently I was invited to visit James Smith Cree Nation for their Community Health Fair where an Elder approached me and said “Hello, I have a story and I want you to write it down.”

Ivory Wayne Burns with JustineHis name is Ivory Wayne Burns and he wanted to express how thankful he is for the services that the Red Cross provided when he needed them most. His home, that he shared with his grandchildren, had caught fire. They had all watched it burn and he said all he could think about was ‘What were we going to do? We were destitute.”

That was when he met Red Cross. At the advice of a community member, he and his seven grandchildren drove to Prince Albert to see if anyone could help.

“I walked in and was greeted with a smile by friendly people,” Mr. Burns said. He explained how shocked and amazed at the amount of support that his family was provided. “It was right on, they gave us blankets, two rooms at the Travelodge for three nights, three square meals a day along with $100 each for clothes because we lost everything.”

I was honoured that Mr. Burns shared his story with me and it reminded me of how Red Cross affects people in such positive ways. He told me he wanted “to give thanks through honor and respect for the work that they (Red Cross) do, for people like us that have an unfortunate event.”

The band has since provided him and his grandchildren with a new home and they are all doing well. He has even expressed that he is interested in helping others that are going through the same situation.