An Open Letter of Gratitude to the community of Slave Lake

Thank you Slave Lake

This past weekend my husband and I were honored and humbled to have been asked to attend the Wounded Warriors Weekend 2014 in Slave Lake, AB. Just three years ago, your community was devastated by a wildfire that destroyed 1/3 of the town and forced the entire community to evacuate with almost no notice. You have experienced a traumatic event that many people will never (thankfully) have to endure yet you returned, you rebuilt and you opened your arms to over 200 Wounded Warriors. “Opened your arms” does not describe what we feel after having been there. The number of people that lined the highway from the Edmonton International Airport all the way to the Slave Lake Legion was overwhelming. The men and women that were on our busses from other parts of Canada and other parts of the world were moved to tears by the reception that we received. The number of people, the flags, and the ribbons that lined the streets of Slave Lake as we pulled in was phenomenal! It felt as though the entire town had come out to greet us. The volunteers that drove all of us all over the place, the organization that greeted us at all of the venues, the joy on all of your faces was incredibly healing and moving. We heard that there were so many people who had volunteered to bring out their boats and their fishing gear that they were turned away! There were entire families that were taking shifts as volunteers, we were driven to fishing by a man whose wife picked us and told us that their son would be serving us dinner at the Gala. So many of the people that we met had lost everything in the fire and had to start over from scratch and yet, they were handing us gifts and offering us places to stay if we ever wanted to come back! Attendees said that everywhere they went, they were treated with honour and dignity, bills at restaurants and coffee shops were picked up by residents that wanted to show their appreciation. I was personally served by the Mayor, Tyler Warman on the evening we arrived, we were taken fishing by Councillor Stefan Plouffe and his wife Shannon Plouffe and we were seated with two more Councillors (Mark Missal and Darin Busk) at the Gala. The volunteer spirit was evident from your Town Leadership all the way through to every hotel staff person, restaurant staff, grocery store staff etc. You have truly set the bar and can be very proud of your accomplishments, Slave Lake! Hooray for you
Susan Burrell Bourque


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