Friday, February 21, 2014

City Employees Recognized by Province for 2013 Flood Efforts

The Province of Alberta’s “Heroes of the Flood” program gave Albertans the chance to recognize people who went above and beyond to help their friends, family and neighbours recover from the June 2013 floods.  More than 1,300 Albertans were nominated – including a number of City of Calgary employees.

Elbow Park during flood recovery
“I’ve always been incredibly proud of my colleagues at The City of Calgary, but I’ve never been more proud of them than I have been over the past eight months,” said Mayor Naheed Nenshi. “The flood taught us how lucky we are to live in a place where government works so well. From bus drivers to road builders to first responders to garbage collectors, all of my colleagues demonstrated great dedication, compassion, and expertise during the floods and beyond as we rebuild and strengthen Calgary. Our city is filled with great public servants, so I am not surprised that some of my colleagues were nominated for this honour.”

Three of those employees are front-line staff from Waste & Recycling Services: Chris Kostyniuk, Jason Davis and Jolen DiGirolamo. They moved thousands of kilograms of flood waste off our streets- helping to keep Calgarians healthy and our streets clean and safe.

 Jason Davis Waste & Recycling Services
Wayne Burndred, Superintendent in Waste & Recycling Services, explained “Jason Davis worked hard to help accommodate the residents and look after his staff.” Jason remembers “[working with] Roads, Fire, Police – everybody was getting dirty together.  We had police officers and firemen helping load trucks and shutting down roads so we could load debris and keep volunteers and people safe. We knew what we needed to do; everybody stepped up and got it done.”
Jolen Digirolamo, Waste & Recycling Services

Jolen Digirolamo collected flood waste, working 16-hour shifts for six straight days. “The public was awesome,” he recalls. “When I pulled up in Stanley Park they were congratulating me. They hadn’t seen a garbage truck in days. I had a swarm of people rush the truck because they were so happy.” Jolen takes away positive memories, saying “it felt great seeing how a city helps each other in a disaster. It was awesome to see Calgary come together.”

The flood directly impacted Chris Kostyniuk, as some of his family was heavily hit; but his job as a City employee was front and centre.  “It was not only a privilege but a duty to help out the people of this city we serve,” he says.  “If it ever happens again (**Knocks on wood**) I will be there to help.  This is our city. This is my privilege.”

Going forward, each of the 1300+ nominees will receive a letter and certificate from the Government of Alberta; the Province will pick the top 100 and the top 100 heroes of the flood will be announced in the summer.

For more info, check out a complete list of the nominees and a PDF poster of all the nominees.

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