The Buckspring Foundation, as Build It Forward, saw a local need in the Slave Lake disaster, and looked for a way to link the Northern Alberta Community with the victims of the Haiti Earthquake natural disaster of 2010. The primary need identified by The Buckspring Foundation in Slave Lake was a re-build of their recently opened Public Library which burned to the ground. A gathering place and cornerstone of that community, The Buckspring Foundation in partnership with Sanjel, The Ford Motor Company of Canada, and United Farmers of Alberta contributed to the rebuild of the Slave Lake Public Library.
The Haitian town of Repatriote, deeply affected by the 2010 earthquake, was also in need of a rebuild and community gathering place. A church building reconstruction, soccer field, and playground were provided.
On September 13th, 2013, both communities were linked during a ceremony where identical Haitian wall-hanging art pieces were displayed as a symbol of connection between the towns in recognition of their perseverance through suffering, their outward-looking approach, and their overcoming attitudes.
By focusing on local and global need related to natural disaster, The Buckspring Foundation seeks to encourage an outward-looking focus and to encourage victims and survivors to use their negative life experience to eventually help others affected by similar circumstances.
In Spring of 2013, the worst flood in Alberta’s history affected all of Southern Alberta, with a “ground zero” focused on the town of High River. With an estimate of $5 billion dollars in property damage, the need was overwhelming. The Buckspring Foundation, in partnership with Samaritan’s Purse, World Financial Group, Ford, Cervus and many other individual partners, immediately responded in a facilitative and supportive role, and with good-old-fashioned “elbow grease”. Basements were “mudded-out”, homes rebuilt, yards restored, and longer-term reconstruction efforts and community linking initiatives were supported. A work group from the nearby flood-affected First Nations Town of Morley was facilitated to join Buckspring crews to assist High Riverites in their disaster recovery, once again fulfilling the Buckspring Foundation mandate of “helping neighbours to help neighbours”.
In an interesting side-story, another recipient of Buckspring Foundation support, The Place of Rescue Orphanage of Cambodia, caught wind of the struggle of Southern Albertans. Orphans from half a world away took a collection of what they had on hand, and rather than spend it on themselves, donated it in support of the Alberta Flood Relief effort. You can read more here.
Photos from the Calgary Herald by Stuart Gradon: Paul Brandt working at the High River flood clean-up