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Chilly thanks


A tip of the hat ... or rub of the toque, a nod of the fur-lined hood ... to the men and women who have worked through the recent blast of winter that reminded Lakeland residents how "seasons" are just a suggestion in this part of the world.

Fortis crews and their regional power-company colleagues were busy in and around the region over the last part of the weekend restoring power and assisting with the damage from a (hopefully) last gasp winter wind and snowstorm. The electrical maintenance folks are just one part of the behind-the-scenes world we can sometimes take for granted as we go about out busy days. We also need to thank the highway maintenance work from Emcon crews and the workers from our local municipalities clearing the way for many of us ... among many, many others.

With the winter winds causing whiteout conditions across the region, there were still new vehicles to be shipped to local car dealerships, and truck drivers battling straps and chains to secure and unload our shiny new selections. Drive-thru staff still have to crack open that sliding window, facing the blast of icy winter air as they make sure you get two creams and three sugars in your morning booster. The snowplow operators, sanding truck drivers, ambulance drivers, peace and police officers are out there when many of us don't want to be.  But don't forget your local garage owner who ran out of his front office with you to help un-freeze your windshield wipers, the gas station cashier who didn't mind if you waited inside the store just a few minutes more until your glasses un-fogged ... and the hundreds of other people who are out there doing their jobs to make these surprise weather events more comfortable and more safe.

Fortis truck coming homeA Fortis work truck returns to Lac La Biche on March 29 after a lates season winter storm blasted the region with strong winds and snow, resulting in a massive power outages in the St. Paul region and power-line issues in several other areas. Image Rob McKinley

We have gotten used to thanking the front-line workers for helping us through the COVID pandemic — but don't let the big event overshadow these micro-bursts of regular life where our neighbours and sometimes complete strangers carry the load for us. 

The storm has definitely brought a chill to the region, but the people out there working through it bring some warmth to our hearts.

Offer your thanks

Who do you want to thank?

Obviously, there are thousands of people who have stepped up, braved the elements and done their jobs over this weekend and many others in the past. We can't name them all here ... but we encourage readers to use the comment lines to say "THANKS" to those who deserve the credit. 

** This commentary appears in the March 30 edition of the Lakeland This Week newspaper.  The regional publication has a circulation of 10,000 across northeastern Alberta and beyond. 

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