The Rotary House Lodge and Eagle Hill Foundation are being recognized for their work in helping seniors evacuate from the wildfire.
On Friday, Minister of Seniors and Housing Lori Sigurdson was at the lodge where she presented plaques to both groups.
During the evacuation, employees at the Rotary House helped 38 seniors pack, get situated in a bus and eventually head north.
They also helped seven seniors who were still at the Legion Manor and Araubasca House.
“I wasn’t able to leave that day and be with my family, this was my family that I had to look after that day,” said Ingrid Blasius, Assistant Manager of Senior Housing. “It’s our job and we know we have to do it, it’s part of our emergency plan too.”
On May 4, 2016, the group traveled south eventually stopping in Lac La Biche. While there, they met up with the Eagle Hill Foundation who helped organize accommodations for each senior.
Places like Fort Saskatchewan, Myrnam, Two Hills, and Willingdon welcomed several seniors to their facility until they came back to Fort McMurray.
“We knew that we had a spot for them, we could accommodate them in with a very, very short notice,” said Wanda Sullivan. Assistant CAO of Eagle Hill Foundation. “We thought, we could help them, we’ll drive them, we have a bus – we can transport them, we are the answer.”
After each senior was safe in one of their lodges, the foundation started calling pharmacy’s making sure everyone had their medication.
“They were well cared for and as happy as could be expected under the conditions,” added Sullivan.
In July 2016, 36 seniors returned to the Rotary House Lodge. One relocated to Lac La Biche while another passed away from natural causes.