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Helping hands everywhere for flood victims


“I got a truck and a shovel. Who should I talk to?” That was a typical questions that Cla- rence-Rockland bylaw officers heard as they managed traffic at the Rockland Plaza near the TSC store outlet. Behind them most of the western corner of the parking lot area was devoted to the sandbagging operation for flood relief efforts to protect the town’s riverside neighbourhoods. Mountainous piles of sand bags waited for pickup trucks, dump trucks, and cars pul- ling trailers to arrive. Then someone would call “Green Light” and volunteers formed a human chain, passing over sandbags until the load was full. Then it was back to filling more sandbags. Many folks used shovels but one local construction company loaned out use of its sand-loader for the duration. Twomen took turns holding bags up to the end of trough as the sand poured out of the loader, then passing the bags back to be tied. “It really does help when you’ve got a good crew of volunteers,” said BrianWilson, Clarence-Rockland fire chief, observing the work gangs. Over at the TSC store, the Salvation Army had parked one of its relief food wagons. Close by several women manned tables loaded with sandwiches, desserts, fruit,

Ils viennent de partout, des bénévoles qui mettent de longues heures à ensacher du sable pour aider les quartiers riverains de Rockland à survivre aux inondations de la rivière des Outaouais. —photo Gregg Chamberlain

bottles of water and juice, and urns of cof- fee. Between the two, with steady supplies of coffee, water, and food coming in fromevery local restaurant and grocery store in town, volunteers at the sandbagging operation always hot food and drink during the cold and rainy weather of the past week. “It’s been a constant steamof donations,” said Abby Loov, one of the volunteers. “People just want to help.” Every day students from every school

in Rockland make their way down to the sandbag works to lend a hand. Over at Pago Road, folks there talk about the gang that showed up in themiddle of the day from the Canadian International Hockey Academy and powered through one huge pile of sand in less than an hour, finishing up dozens and dozens of bags before they had to go back to school. “A lot of people are just stopping by and offering to help,” said François Lalonde, a

homeowner on Voisine Road, one of the worst-hit of Rockland’s riverside neighbou- rhoods. “Total strangers.” Glenn Standen gets the gang at the sand- works cheering loud as he recites the list of local businesses and groups which have offered help, either by supplying food or other needs for the flood relief volunteers and victims. “That’s why we are proud to say ‘Rockland rocks!’” Standen said.

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