After Newfoundland was hit with a record-breaking snowfall, the Canadian Armed Forces were called in to help dig people out of their homes and get things running smoothly again.
Now, members of the military are posting about how amazing the entire experience was.
Tiffany Mackey, a medical technician from 42 Health Services in Gagetown, N.B., posted about the experience in a Facebook group dedicated to Snowmaggedon — as the blizzard has been dubbed.
“We would drive from location to location and would see neighbours out helping everyone they could, people with big smiles on their faces despite the [state of emergency], even people [who] came out to offer us use of their snowblowers! People would stop us everywhere asking for pictures, to shake our hands, or give us treats,” she wrote.
“There’s now a large group of soldiers from all over Canada, most of which have never been to Newfoundland before, who will be talking about this experience for a long, long time.”
Mackey, who is from Newfoundland, told HuffPost Canada that she’d been wanting to go home to visit family for several years but it was hard with kids and a full-time job.
“I was actually sitting at home last Saturday night looking at pictures my friends and family were sharing of the snowfall in St. John’s when I got the call to be on four-hours notice to move,” she said. “It was bittersweet because I was excited to go home, but it was devastating to see how many people were snowed in.”
Mackey said there were a lot of standout moments while she was in St. John’s, but she’ll never forget the first house they visited. It was occupied by an elderly woman who lived alone in a basement apartment, and she’d been snowed in completely.
“She immediately broke into tears when she opened her door and saw that we were there to help her. The look on her face when she was able to walk down the path to leave her house after 3 days was something I’ll never forget. She hugged each and every one of us.”
Mackey said she knew Newfoundlanders were warm and welcoming, but seeing it in person was an unforgettable experience. She said the positive attitude of the people they were helping kept morale high in her crew.
“I couldn’t have been more proud to see how my fellow Newfoundlanders banded together to help those in need, and how appreciative they were of us being there to help.”
Other members of the Forces seemed to agree with the sentiment.
“It was a priviledge [sic] to be a part of this operation to clear St. John’s in its state of emergency,” one member wrote in the same group.
“Every day we were out there, the people would drive or walk by where we were shovelling and get out of their car to thank us, give us food, and shake our hands in appreciation of what we were doing. This made the job that I get paid to do, seem less as a ‘job’, and more of an honour to help a community filled with wonderful people,” another servicewoman posted, adding that she wanted to return to the province in the summer.
Newfoundlanders have gone above and beyond to show their gratitude for the people in uniform who helped them in their time of need. Many are posting photos with service members, and writing warm messages encouraging the rescuers to come back to Newfoundland whenever they’d like.
“This experience made me nearly burst with pride seeing how everyone was treated and appreciated while we were there… It definitely shed a whole new light on this little-known province for a lot of people, and showed what I already knew: that Newfoundlanders are some of the kindest and most resilient people you can meet,” Mackey said.