High River recovery: flood ravaged town still coping with huge losses
HIGH RIVER- They’ve proven to be a resilient community in the year since their town was ravaged by the June flood. But there is still a long way to go until High River fully recovers.
Ron Schmidt runs Schmidty’s Parlour. Water tore through his downtown home and business, destroying his livelihood. He has since moved his shop into an unlikely place: a garage.
“The neighbourhood is not the same, obviously, the houses are gone. It’s just very, very sad,” his wife, Carla Schmidt says. “It’s where we expected to live out our lives.”
Ron admits it’s been a taxing process.
“In my lifetime I felt I was easygoing and could handle most things. This is probably the biggest stress I have ever experienced.
“It’s tested the spirit, that’s for sure.”
However, the family has no plans to leave.
“We couldn’t leave High River for any reason at all…the town coming together has been mind blowing.”
The flood also gutted the town’s historic movie theatre, and the owners say it’s been a huge adjustment.
“At one time we were working 15, 16 hours, so now you sit at home and the biggest decision we make is ‘what are we gonna make for supper?’” says Syed Kidwai. “One extreme to the other, you know?”
Kidwai has delayed his retirement, to rescue his symbol of resiliency.
“We know our town is back once the theatre is open. I want to see us face adversity and show that, hey, we can do it.”
That faith in the future, is why people like Schmidt are choosing to stay.
“You wait and see what this town will be like in a few years. It’s going to be an amazing place.”