by Heather Edwards, Rotary Club of Eugene Metro

When Canadian attorney John Andresen, a member of the Rotary Club of High River in Canada, heard about the forest fires in Oregon he knew he wanted to help. He remembered the flash flood that destroyed his community in 2013.

The Highwood River forms in the Canadian Rockies just below Mount Arethusa. That year a heavy rain flooded much of the Alberta province and deluged the small town of High River. Evacuations were compulsory and more than 100,000 people fled, including the 13,000 people who call High River home. Twenty-eight emergency evacuation centers were activated. The provincial government described this catastrophic flood as the worst in Alberta’s history.

As the provincial government started allowing people back to return home in phases, contributions from all over the world started coming in as well. Rotary clubs throughout Canada and the rest of the world contributed almost $100,000 to help them. Then they received a global grant from the Rotary Foundation. They were able to rebuild. And John says now they’re stronger than ever.

When he talks about how much international support they received he says, “We haven’t forgotten.”

And so he passed the hat at his club, the Rotary Club of High River in District 5360. They raised $3,100 CAD to help their fellow Rotarians in Oregon. They contributed that money directly to the District 5110 Fire Relief Fund and we couldn’t be more grateful for these friends we haven’t met yet.

“Help should be reciprocal,” John says. “We’ve been helped, we should help those who are in pain.”

Please feel free to reach out and leave our friends and fellow Rotarians a thank you post on their Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/RotaryClubOfHighRiver. This is Rotary at work, friends. We are all neighbors. Thank you, John. And thank you, High Rivertarians.