The destructive wildfires in Fort McMurray have been in the news all over the world these past two days, causing the complete evacuation of the entire city. And as many of you know, four Mindcampers live there — the Thomas family: Russell, Heather, Dylan, and Ben.
Having reassured us with brief social media updates, Russell Thomas found time today to send a letter with more details, the essence being, “We’re OK!” Here are some key excerpts:
“First of all, thank you! Thank you for all the messages of love, concern and offers of support. To say that is has been a harrowing few days would be an understatement.
“I had to evacuate from my first location yesterday and made the trip south to Edmonton. My early decision to go allowed me to miss the fatal collision and highway closure by five or ten minutes. I spent the evening at my friends’ house… A business person in Fort McMurray…helped secure a flight out from the north for Heather, Dylan and Ben. They were scheduled to be on a flight this morning so I started the drive south to Calgary. For a few minutes, it looked like they were going to get bumped for a medical emergency. However, at the last moment, they got seats. What a wonderful feeling to know that they were on their way.”
Russell, Heather, Dylan, and Ben were reunited and are now together in Calgary.
Meanwhile, a friend of Russell’s has sent him word that…
“…it appears (for now) that we will have a house to go back to. This means that we will have a downtown. It also looks like two of the largest residential neighbourhoods will be largely intact. More good news: major critical infrastructure like water and sewage treatment, etc. are also preserved…For now, we will operate out of Calgary. I will be busy coordinating efforts with United Way, working virtually with colleagues who have scattered across the country.
“We are safe; we are together; that is all that matters.”
If you’d like to offer help to Fort McMurray residents, your donation will be matched by the Alberta and federal governments. Click here to donate to the Red Cross. You can also donate $5 by texting “REDCROSS” to 30333.