Faces of United Way: Al

“I was on the board for United Way from 1982 to 1988. I was the Chairman of the board in 1987. I also worked with the Government of Alberta so I was involved peripherally after that. I helped with the United Way campaign within the Alberta government as a facilitator.”

“The year I was Chairman of the United Way board, we had the tornado in Edmonton so we became quite involved with that, along with many other organizations, because that was the worst disaster that Edmonton had ever experienced. Most people would not have thought it could happen. I didn’t. As a matter of fact I was at a United Way meeting that night at the building they then occupied, which was across from the High Level Bridge, right on the riverbank. It was a hot day and so we sat out on the balcony. Then all of a sudden it got dark, dark, dark and by the time the session was finished, the rain was coming down in torrents. I was headed to the Legislature Building so fortunately a fellow said he would drive me to the tunnel underneath the legislature. So I watched a bunch of stuff happen including a train get hit by lightning — they were building the government LRT station at the time and there was a crane up there. I was talking to my wife, then all of a sudden we got cut off and BAM — it was a direct hit. It didn’t do anything but frazzle the electricity, but then we found out that we couldn’t go home the usual route because it was impassable, several of the roads were out of business. The next morning, the United Way board met to see what we could do to respond and we became part of the effort. It was really difficult to believe how hard that trailer park got hit on the north east end of the city. The other area that was badly hit was by the Sherwood Park freeway. Transport trucks were tossed around just like they were paper toys. We focused on providing relief where we could.”

To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the United Way of the Alberta Capital Region we've partnered with Faces of Edmonton. In the coming months, Faces of Edmonton will be featuring faces and stories relating to the United Way and its work in your community. We’re looking forward to sharing these portraits and stories with you. To learn more about United Way's work check out the Report to Community online.