'I'm not going to abandon them': Neighbours lift each other up with more rain on the way
Abbotsford’s Dan Dennill has made a living helping people clean up devastating damage.
So when he started to get calls about the floodwaters receding on parts of the Sumas Prairie, and homeowners needing help, he decided to step up.
“I was always told if a neighbour is in need, then you go and help,” Dennill, the CEO of Surreal Cleaning Solutions said. “So that’s what we’re trying to do in our own community.”
He takes us to see home after home after home.
The stories are similar: heartbreaking and at the same time, hopeful.
Near a squiggle in the Sumas, we meet Paulette Johnson.
She’s sitting at the bottom of her staircase, sorting through a box of what looks like children’s clothing, a smile on her face.
“Attitude means a lot and I am thankful for what I do have,” she tells me.
All around her, there’s utter destruction left by the flood.
Everything below a metre or so has been wiped out.
“Where do you start? You just put one foot in front of the other,” Johnson says. “Tell yourself you’re tough.”
Dennill found her by word-of-mouth, he tells me.
First, it’s demolition and getting the water out, then rinsing mud and silt, sanitizing, and getting heat and fans in.
If the homeowners don’t have savings, Dennill’s crew somehow still gets paid.
“I don’t say no. people don’t have money. It doesn’t matter. I’m not going to abandon them,” he says.
Neither is Wes Gmur, 80 years young and volunteering with Dennill’s team.
He steers us to his childhood farm, now owned by the Meier family.
“Got a lot of good friends out here,” Gmur says, “and they’re in trouble.”
Water didn’t make it to the first floor, we learn, though Chelsea Meier’s basement, which was full to the rafters, she shows us, has just gone from disaster to dry.
Her grandmother’s china and just-canned peaches somehow survived standing up.
Her six-by-twelve-foot snooker table is stuck on its side.
Out front neighbours come by with a car full of homemade snacks.
I ask her what else the family needs.
“Just support,” she says. “Hands, coveralls, boots, that’s the only thing I can think of.”
More storms are on the way.
Sandbags are available somewhere.
But on our drive we don’t see any being set out quite yet.
“You don’t even know what to do with sandbags,” Meier tells me bluntly. “You can’t even tell where. (the water will come from). I don’t know.”
Back at the Johnsons', Paulette tells me she really hasn’t thought much the forecast.
There’s too much to do.
“I can’t change the future. I can only do what I can do today,” she says.
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
Tensions flared in the Commons on Monday over opposition calls for House Speaker Anthony Rota to resign after apologizing to Parliament for inviting, recognizing and leading the chamber in a standing ovation for a man who fought for a Nazi unit during the Second World War.
Police have launched an investigation into a poster inviting "proud parents of European children" to participate in racially segregated playtime in B.C.'s Lower Mainland.
Polish ambassador to Canada says House Speaker Anthony Rota's apology doesn’t go far enough after a Nazi veteran was honoured in the House of Commons last Friday.
A Toronto-based real estate company says it is planning to build 5,000 new rental units in urban centres across the country as a result of the federal government's decision to eliminate GST charges on rental developments.
The field for the second Republican presidential debate will be smaller than the first.
The most up-to-date guidelines from the Canadian Medical Association Journal recommend the COVID-19 vaccine for anyone who is pregnant in order to reduce the risk of serious illness to themselves and the children they carry.
Canadian Sikhs staged small protests outside India's diplomatic missions on Monday, a week after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said there may be a link between New Delhi and the murder of a Sikh separatist advocate in British Columbia.
Canada has approved a vaccine to prevent Ebola in non-pregnant and otherwise healthy adults aged 18 and older.
Using the new and rapidly improving ability to piece together fragments of ancient DNA, scientists are finding that traits inherited from Neanderthals are still with us now, affecting our fertility, our immune systems, even how our bodies handled the COVID-19 virus.
Police in Nanaimo are looking for witnesses and dashcam video of a motorcycle crash that sent a rider to hospital with life-threatening injuries.
More than 6,000 BC Hydro customers were without power Monday morning as a fall storm brought heavy winds and rains to the region.
British Columbia's advocate for seniors is calling for “fundamental reform” in how the province funds contracted long-term care providers, after a study found for-profit facilities routinely under-delivered care for the funding they received.
Calgary police have released the name of a man killed in the community of Pineridge over the weekend.
Calgary police have charged three men and one teen in connection to a violent abduction in the community of Acadia earlier this month.
The Town of Banff is hoping a new affordable housing strategy can make a dent in the community's housing crisis.
Boyle Street Community Services (BSCS) has found several new locations to support its programming while the new King Thunderbird Centre is completed.
Laurent Brossoit relished being back on the ice and it showed. Brossoit made 26 saves as the Winnipeg Jets blanked the Edmonton Oilers 5-0 in pre-season action on Monday.
Chartier restaurant in Beaumont will remain open thanks to an anonymous investor.
'Greenbelt just the tip of the iceberg': Scrutiny turns to boundary changes benefiting developer who bought tickets to Ford stag party
The scandal over the removal of land from the protected Greenbelt for a connected few could be just "the tip of the iceberg" as opposition parties called for a new investigation of a different set of land changes that may prove to be another type of headache for Ontario's beleaguered government.
A man was rushed to hospital via emergency run after a stabbing in Toronto’s Weston neighbourhood on Monday night.
Ontario’s police watchdog has cleared a Hamilton police officer who was involved in the shooting death of a landlord who fatally shot two of his tenants in May.
A Quebec man accused of killing two young children by driving a city bus into a Montreal-area daycare is scheduled to return to court today.
A man is in critical condition after being stabbed in the town of Westmount, on the island of Montreal, on Monday night.
Quebec provincial police say three people are dead after a fishing boat sunk off the province's Lower North Shore early this morning.
New polling data shows Manitobans are almost split equally on whether or not to search a Winnipeg-area landfill for the remains of two Indigenous women.
A single-car crash in Winnipeg on Sunday night has left one person dead and three others in the hospital
The Manitoba Progressive Conservatives have their sights on safety entering the final full week of campaigning ahead of the Oct. 3 provincial vote.
Saskatoon police are calling on the public for information about a 16-year-old homicide investigation.
Police were called to an incident Friday night that initially sounded like a group of teens may have been battling it out in a city park.
The Saskatchewan Serious Incident Response Team (SIRT) is investigating Saskatoon police conduct during an arrest last week.
A man in Regina is facing 31 charges after allegedly causing gas leaks at 26 natural gas meters throughout downtown over the weekend.
Parole board staff feared threats as public learned of Sask. mass killer's prior release, emails show
Parole Board of Canada employees were fearful of threats after it was revealed a mass killer in Saskatchewan was on statutory release at the time of last year's rampage, emails show.
The Saskatchewan Roughriders have not won a game since the Labour Day Classic and are currently on a three-game slide after their weekend loss to the Ottawa Redblacks.
Four out of ten child patients in Canada are facing unsafe spinal surgery wait times, which could cost the health-care system $44.6 million, according to a new report that was published Monday.
A neighbourhood in Bedford is on edge after a pair of dog attacks that killed two family pets in separate incidents in West Bedford over the weekend.
Weather forecasts in the Maritimes are showing a sunny start to the fire week of Autumn.
Two forensic identification officers who helped process the scenes of the attack on the Afzaal family and of accused Nathaniel Veltman's apartment took the stand on Monday. Here’s what you need to know before Tuesday.
Homeless hub locations divide council members and public, but mayor says plan still a ‘whole of community response’
A deepening political divide over London’s plan to address the homelessness crisis may be a symptom of continued confusion and uncertainty among council’s constituents.
EXCLUSIVE 'We are investigating': London, Ont. high school football team cancels opener after hazing incident
Staff and coaches at Sir Wilfrid Laurier Secondary School in London are investigating a 'hazing incident' involving the Rams senior football team. One night prior to the season opener, a concerned community member notified the school of something happening on the football field.
A federal offender is wanted on a Canada-wide warrant for breaching his statutory release.
Highway 11 has partially reopened Monday afternoon after an early morning crash between two tractor-trailers near North Bay, police say.
A senior from Calvin Township died in a crash involving an off-road vehicle on private property east of North Bay on Sept. 20, police say.
A new queer and Indigenous-led centre in Kitchener has been targeted by vandalism, less than two weeks before it's set to open to the public.
The Mission says it needs to raise $50,000 to $70,000 by mid-October or else it’ll have to reduce hours.
Waterloo regional police have released pictures of someone they’re trying to identify in connection to an overnight break-in in Waterloo.