After meeting at grocery store, woman steps up to help flood victim

A chance encounter at the grocery store where she works inspired Anna Boone to help Gary Murray get back on his feet after he lost everything in the 2018 flood.

Anna Boone says she's been overwhelmed with donations to help Gary Murray

Gary Murray, who lost his home to the 2018 flood, with his sister, Debbie Gorman. Donations of gift cards and furniture have been pouring in to help Murray get back on his feet due to the efforts of Anna Boone. (Sarah Petz/CBC )

Though she has now collected enough furniture to fill an apartment for him, Anna Boone had never met Gary Murray before last week.

She saw him while working at the Real Atlantic Superstore location in Fredericton's north side, eyeing a pack of ribs and remarking that he had some barbecue sauce at home.

But then his sister gently reminded him that he had lost everything in the flood that devastated parts of New Brunswick in May.

"That little seed stuck in my head," Boone said. "He literally slumped at my case when he was remembering this.

"He really spoke to me without actually saying anything."

Gary Murray in his Sheffield home while surrounded by flood water. (Facebook )

The next morning, Boone decided to act. After speaking with his sister, she knew he was from Sheffield, but nothing else.

"I didn't even know what his name was or who I was looking for," she said.

She created a post in a Facebook page dedicated to flooding in the Maugerville area. Soon, people connected the dots and figured out who she was looking for.

Murray has worked at the Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital for more than 20 years, and previously worked in several bars in the Fredericton area.

He lost part of his leg about six years ago due to a blocked artery. Though he has a prosthesis, he can't walk on it for long, so he needs a wheelchair to get around.

Flooded with offers to help

Boone said she soon found out that Murray was known in the community for being friendly and kind.

"When people figured out this was who I was trying to help, I just got overloaded with offers for furniture and everything else," she said.

Within four or five days, Boone gathered enough furniture to fill a one-bedroom apartment.

Boone said she's "overwhelmed" by the response, especially since some of the people who are donating items had their homes damaged by the flood.

"It's pretty much consumed my life for the past week, because everybody wanted to jump on the bandwagon," she said, adding that when she made the post she was expecting to get only one or two pieces of furniture.

She said she's also received donations of gift cards in support of Murray.

'An angel'

When reached on the phone Sunday, Murray said he's also amazed by the response.

"There's people down in Sheffield, who were flooded also, and they're worried about me. It just blows you away," he said.

Murray had been staying with his sister, Debbie Gorman, but is now in a dorm at the University of New Brunswick so he can use his wheelchair.

He just found an accessible apartment to live in Sunday.

Gorman called Boone "an angel sent from heaven."

About the Author

Sarah Petz

Reporter, CBC Manitoba

Sarah Petz is a reporter with CBC Manitoba and was previously based at CBC New Brunswick. She can be reached at sarah.petz@cbc.ca.