New volunteer find fulfillment supporting people evacuated due to wildfires

Topics: Saskatchewan
Moses Chibaya | July 20, 2023

A Saskatchewan volunteer with the Canadian Red Cross found fulfillment in being deployed to support First Nations community members who were evacuated due to wildfires, earlier this year.

“The experience was wonderful,” said Osaretin Giegbefumwen, who is a volunteer with both the emergency management, and safety and wellbeing teams. “Wearing the Canadian Red Cross vest on duty was like a dream come true for me.”

Osaretin, who joined the Red Cross as a volunteer in December 2022, was deployed to Lloydminster to support the wildfire response. It was his first deployment.

Before coming to Canada, he had also been a volunteer with Nigerian Red Cross in Nigeria. After arriving in Canada, one of the first things he did was apply to volunteer with the Canadian Red Cross. 

Getting to wear the Red Cross vest was something Osaretin had once thought not likely. “But now that I did wear the vest, helping people we serve, to say I am over the moon is an understatement.”  

For Osaretin, it was a great experience to help people during a stressful situation.

“I was happy to witness the impact our response can make in communities and what it meant to people we serve.”

Part of serving people in need in Lloydminster meant working with a strong Canadian Red Cross team that had already been in place, supporting evacuated First Nation members.

“We got there [Lloydminster] and I must tell you the love that we got from the Canadian Red Cross team already on the ground was massive. It was just like me reuniting with my family,” Osaretin said.

He has always wanted to help people through the Canadian Red Cross and when the call came to assist in Lloydminster, it was an opportunity he took immediately. He wants to be there for anyone who needs help from the Red Cross, even if it means time away from his job.

“I told (my work manager) the Red Cross is calling. I must answer this call. This is what I love to do. Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday now belong to the Canadian Red Cross regardless of what happens.”

Osaretin was also very appreciative of the support the Red Cross provides volunteers like himself to ensure they are prepared to help people in need.

“There are a lot of things that you can learn from the Canadian Red Cross from logistics, systems, (to) stress management. There are a lot of resources to help volunteers,” he said.

To find out how to volunteer like Osaretin, go to
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