Local heroes: Health-care workers have safe, clean temporary homes thanks to this company
Local heroes is a series featuring southern Albertans who are making a difference during the pandemic
Who do you feel has been a LOCAL HERO during the COVID-19 pandemic in Calgary and southern Alberta, be it on the front lines or in the community helping others? We want to know for our new series paying tribute to these local heroes. Tell us which person or team you'd nominate and why via email to CBC Calgary reporter Meghan Grant at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Haidee Anderson's husband is a paramedic, working every day with all kinds of patients as the COVID-19 crisis continues to rock Alberta.
In the past number of weeks, the family has lived in a state of anxiety, knowing that their situation is high-risk. It doesn't help that some members of the family have respiratory issues.
So the family is going to do something a little bit different from now on — Anderson's husband is going to live in an RV parked on the family driveway.
"I'll deliver meals outside onto the driveway, while he's in the trailer, and he'll come and grab them after I've left," Anderson says.
It's not the ideal living situation, but to this family, it's a massive relief — an extra layer of protection.
This RV, and others like it, has been temporarily donated by Western RV Country, a large RV dealer with stores in multiple southern Alberta communities like Airdrie, Okotoks and Red Deer.
Anderson's husband will live in one of these RVs for the indeterminate future as the pandemic continues on, so that he's able to remain close to his family yet maintain his distance.
"It's incredibly touching that they're this generous, that they would do this for free to help our frontline workers and families," Anderson says, holding back tears. "How do you find the words to say thank you?"
Brandon Urban, operations manager at Western RV Country in Airdrie and son of owner Bruce Urban, says the whole thing started after his cousin stumbled on a Facebook post from a local nurse.
That nurse was worried about coming home and potentially exposing her family to COVID-19.
She put the word out — she was hoping that someone in the community knew of a trailer she could stay in on an interim basis.
That's when the Urban family reached out and offered to loan the nurse a unit. Soon, local media picked up the story, and Western RV Country found itself flooded with requests.
To date, the dealership has delivered 14 trailers across the province. More requests continue to pile in, and Urban said they'll try to accommodate as best they can.
"We have all these RVs sitting on our lot," Urban said. "If we make the small investment to give back to the community and potentially save lives by doing this, it's a no-brainer to us, really."
'They're the real heroes'
Lending out the vehicles ties up inventory for Western RV Country, but like many companies across Canada, the COVID-19 crisis has upended any previously-held business strategy.
So in the meantime, Urban says they'll do whatever they can to help those health-care workers fighting to flatten the curve.
Bruce Fudge, operations manager at the Okotoks location, says he was happy to deliver the RV to the Anderson family.
"Those frontline guys, they're the real heroes. We're just trying to do our part and help out a little bit," he said. "I look forward to that day [when this is over]. That day will put a smile on my face.
"Everyone's going to be happy, big smiles. And I'll get the hugs that we can't do right now."
- Tell us who you think is a local hero and why by emailing reporter Meghan Grant at email@example.com.
With files from Monty Kruger