After tornadoes touched down in Morson and Devlin, and torrential rains hit the rest of the district, residents showed strong community spirit by helping each other out.
The morning after wind storms tore apart numerous barns and houses along Highway 613 in Devlin, residents were out helping to clear trees, patch up houses, and salvage equipment from collapsed barns.
Many of those who didn’t see damage to their properties were on hand to help out those that did.
“I think people were helping out their neighbours and we had people from Barwick, the ‘Barwick Builders,’ come along and I think they helped out a few people as well,” noted La Vallee Clerk Laurie Witherspoon.
About a dozen volunteers also helped clean and begin repairs on the Devlin Hall the day after the storm hit and tore off half the roofing..
“It was really great because we had to get it tarped up so we wouldn’t get any further damage,” said Witherspoon.
Volunteers also helped repair the fence of the Devlin Ball Park after a number of sections were torn off by the wind.
In Morson, where the community was cut off by a flooded Highway 621 for five days, the neighbourhood was a hubbub of chainsaws and hammers as residents pooled their resources.
“I had a great number of people helping,” noted Lake of the Woods Reeve Valerie Pizey. “People who had hydro, and therefore water, were giving it to neighbours, people dropped food off at the end of the [flooded] bridge, other people walked it across . . . that sort of thing.”
Yvonne Gill, owner of the Morson Marina and grocery store, also noticed the volunteer help as barges transported food, tourists, and vehicles in and out of the community while residents helped unload food supplies and clean up damaged areas.
“They were very helpful. I had a crew of six women volunteers who came to clean the houseboats,” said Gill. “We had so many people pitch in to help out it was wonderful.
“I think we’re making a little headway here but it’s going to be a while until we’re back in shape,” she added.
After his barn was torn down by the first winds to hit the district Tuesday morning, Emo farmer Ralph Hunsperger also had a number of farmers come out to help clean up.
“Lots of people, I really appreciated it,” said Hunsperger. “I actually turned some people away because there was so much damage in Devlin, we sent them there.
“I think we were lucky on a couple of counts,” he added. “We didn’t get it as bad as they did in Devlin and nobody was hurt.”
At Northwest Bay F.N., residents cut off by water rushing over Highway 613 and without power for more than two days worked together to ensure everyone had enough to eat.
“Everyone boiled their meat before it could spoil and gave it to everyone else in the community so we have enough food,” resident Darlene Smith noted Friday.
“A few people went by boat to get milk for babies and groceries,” she added.