The Merritt Centennials were out in the community, lending a hand to residents still recovering from the flooding event of November 2021. Team members volunteered their time to assist a Phase 4 resident, still displaced from her home, in removing the large amounts of flood debris in the house’s crawl space. 

Donna Rae has been displaced from her home for more than 11 months, and by the time she’s once again occupying her home, it will have been over one year. Rae’s home, located near Central School, was heavily damaged during the floods. She has been billeted since, living outside of limits while commuting into Merritt daily to complete repairs and other flood recovery efforts on her property. She said this work has been taxing, and that she was thankful for the help of her “knights in shining hockey pads.”

“It was remarkable, I just felt so grateful to have more of that wet dirt taken out from my crawl space,” said Rae.

“The fact that they volunteered their time, they didn’t let me buy them lunch and they didn’t want to get paid, it was just amazing.”

Rae added that the Cents were generous with their time, working in shifts for an entire afternoon to remove silt and debris from her home’s crawl space. She was impressed by their work ethic and called them ‘truly nice young men.’ The support comes at a good time, as Rae’s road to recovery has not been straightforward. She has had issues with contractors and long waitlists, but shared her secret to getting through the dread she felt from her situation.

“I’ve had problems with contractors and no-shows, stuff like that. The fellow I have now is good, he shows up, but he can only give me part-time. We’ve come a long way since he’s started,” said Rae. 

“Don’t give up. There were many, many times where I didn’t want to drive back in every day to deal with this, because I’m billeted out in Sunshine Valley. If you don’t do it, it won’t get done.” 

While the Cents lending a helping hand went smoothly, there was a bit of a miscommunication about the nature of the team’s volunteer work. Rae shared the memory lightheartedly.

“Their coach neglected to tell them what they were coming to do,” Rae said with a laugh.

“Some of them had sandals on, shorts on, white socks. I asked them if their coach told them what they’d be doing, and they said ‘no.’ They didn’t complain, they just happily dug in and started working, hauling the buckets of dirt out.”

Rae is one of many residents still recovering from the effects of November’s flooding event. While many residents are back in their homes, and infrastructure is under repair, a number of Merrittonians remain displaced as they work to repair their homes.