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In the face of destruction, P.E.I. residents come together to help each other post-Dorian

Neighbours came together, including international students from the Bahamas to help clean up the damage caused by falling trees at the Warn House Bed and Breakfast in Summerside over the weekend. Cate and Greg Garant along with bed and breakfast guests Robert Legare and Leslie Strong and Doug and Carole Steer, and former B&B owners Gerry Gill and Alice Berube, plus kitchen manager Ceilidh work to clear brush from the property. Submitted photo/Cate Garant
Neighbours came together, including international students from the Bahamas to help clean up the damage caused by falling trees at the Warn House Bed and Breakfast in Summerside over the weekend. Cate and Greg Garant along with bed and breakfast guests Robert Legare and Leslie Strong and Doug and Carole Steer, and former B&B owners Gerry Gill and Alice Berube, plus kitchen manager Ceilidh work to clear brush from the property. Submitted photo/Cate Garant
SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. —

In difficult times, Islanders have been known to come together. 

Such has been the case in the days since hurricane Dorian pummelled Prince Edward Island on the weekend.

Cate and Greg Garant along with bed and breakfast guests Robert Legare and Leslie Strong and Doug and Carole Steer, and former B&B owners Gerry Gill and Alice Berube, plus kitchen manager Ceilidh work to clear brush from the property. Submitted photo/Cate Garant
Cate and Greg Garant along with bed and breakfast guests Robert Legare and Leslie Strong and Doug and Carole Steer, and former B&B owners Gerry Gill and Alice Berube, plus kitchen manager Ceilidh work to clear brush from the property. Submitted photo/Cate Garant

Cate Garant owner of the Warn House Bed and Breakfast in Summerside is located in the middle of one of the hardest-hit areas of the city.
 

"We had about 12 trees down. We're on Central Street, right near the area where all the trees and power lines came down. Thankfully the house is unscathed," said Garant.

The cook for the bed and breakfast is also an instructor at Holland College's Marine Campus. She recruited a number of students to help with the cleanup.

"Here we are and these four or five boys come to help us. They're Bahamians helping with hurricane clean-up in Summerside rather than in their home country dealing with the clean-up there. We never would have thought..." said Garant.

Elsewhere, at the city's northern edge, knowing that coworkers would be concerned about the damage the weather caused to their own properties and those of friends and family, StandardAero vice-president Jeff Poirier gave workers a day off to deal with the clean-up.

"We're a significant employer, with about 500 people, so we know they can help and reach a lot of people that were hit," said Poirier.

He added the numbers this year have been good so far, and that's because of the work of the employees.

"With that time, many helped others and cleaned up their own properties. It was about the spirit of helping others."

Poirier said the damage to his own property was minimal, but his in-laws, who live in Malpeque, were hit significantly.

"We circled around there and even a few coworkers came out to help. Many hands make light work when you're clearing branches and brush."

Back in Summerside, while Maritime Electric lineman Scott Johnston was working to restore power for others, he felt thankful there were only a few trees in his yard to clean up. 

But even before he had the chance, his neighbours stepped in to help.

It may not look like much, but this pile of trees was brought together by neighbours of Maritime Electric lineman Scott Johnston. Johnston who is still working to repair the damage done by hurricane Dorian on Saturday to parts of the Island, wasn't surprised by the goodness of his neighbours when they decided to help clean up his property while he was out responding to calls. Submitted photo/Jillian Johnston
It may not look like much, but this pile of trees was brought together by neighbours of Maritime Electric lineman Scott Johnston. Johnston who is still working to repair the damage done by hurricane Dorian on Saturday to parts of the Island, wasn't surprised by the goodness of his neighbours when they decided to help clean up his property while he was out responding to calls. Submitted photo/Jillian Johnston

"They came and knocked on the door. My mom answered and they said they knew my dad worked at Maritime Electric so they were there to help with the yard. They asked what my mom wanted cut and where she wanted everything piled," said Jillian, Johnston's daughter.

"It’s just nice knowing that even after a hurricane and the aftermath it brought, everyone’s first thought was 'how can I help everyone else?'"

She said it showed that people recognize how hard lineman work.

"During hurricane season and winter storm season, I can go weeks without seeing him. The last really bad ice storm we had, I didn’t see him for about a month and we lived in the same house," she said.

Johnston said it felt good knowing his neighbours were there to support and help out, but he wasn't surprised by the goodness in people.

"I didn't expect it. But I wasn't surprised. It's not the first time they helped. This summer I was working on my shed and a neighbour came over and spent the next two days helping me. This was in 30-plus weather."

He said it's a comfort to know there is support in the neighbourhood during bad weather. 

"I knew my wife and kids could go to one of the neighbours' houses if they needed help and my neighbours would check in if something happened."

He said what did surprise him was the high spirits of Islanders even in the face of destruction.

"In 2004 I helped in repairing the damage of Hurricane Ivan and homes where completely ruined and people were in good spirits. If you could see some of the areas on the Island, it's just like that. But people are still in good spirits and thanking us for our work. It certainly makes you feel appreciated."

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