Residents within the flood-ravaged RM of Ritchot are surely feeling a sense of hope as the far-reaching waters of the Red River begin their retreat. For many, though, a return to normal is still a long way off when there’s soggy sandbags and marooned flood debris to deal with.
Ste. Adolphe resident and volunteer Kori Plesiuk, who helped mobilize volunteer sandbagging crews earlier in the flood fight, is back at for round two as she looks to assemble people to help with the cleanup.
“When it comes to cleaning up, we will need people again,” Plesiuk says. “A lot of people will have debris in their yards from the river, such as garbage or giant logs, and it all needs to be removed.”
Plesiuk is recruiting volunteers now and hopes volunteers get in contact with her in the coming days. If you are interested, please contact Plesiuk at firstname.lastname@example.org.
With her own home nestled safely inside the confines of the St. Adolphe dike, Plesiuk says she has been motivated this spring to help those in need.
“As the water was rising, more and more people were posting online asking for help,” she says. “Many of them have never lived in this area during a flood. I saw that need and wanted to help.”
Last month, Plesiuk began by posting some information on a community Facebook group. In no time, more than 100 locals had responded. She saw individuals and whole families show up. The volunteers came primarily from St. Adolphe, Île-des-Chênes, and Niverville. Every age group, she says, was at some point represented. Some dropped in and assisted with filling a few sandbags during their break while others spent the day.
“This community has never been shy about helping each other out,” Plesiuk says with pride. “I love hearing stories of the flood of ’97, where everyone helped everyone, and I believe it’s the same thing here. People see a need and they want to help. It’s what makes this community feel like one big family.”
Employed as an educational assistant at Ecole St. Adolphe, Plesiuk has missed few opportunities to shine a light in her community since she moved to town in 2011. She’s been active on the daycare and community club fundraising committees and sits on the board of the St. Adolphe Bible Fellowship Church.
She runs a community youth group and a soccer program alongside a friend. Plesiuk is president of the school’s Parent Advisory Council and performs secretarial duties for a local non-profit, Forging Ahead, which helps veterans and first responders with stress management and build coping skills.
“I’m just like everyone else,” Plesiuk says. “No one wants to see a neighbour struggling or worrying about the what ifs. I can, so I do.”
Brenda Sawatzky, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Niverville Citizen