Flood Watch – 2009…CFOT Responds

Categories: Prairie News


A team of Cadets and Officers from the training college in Winnipeg as well as junior soldier, Elissa Zelinsky (age 12) lent a hand to the sandbagging efforts in the community of St. Andrews, north of Winnipeg, on the weekend. The team helped serve meals to volunteers, filled sandbags and helped construct dikes in areas where the flood was expected to strike. “It was amazing to come together with people for the common good of the community as we made connections with strangers over a 30 pound bag of sand. It was a wonderful day at church” says Cadet Melissa Mailman.

Captain Margaret MacLeod and Major Keith Pike shared a similar experience as they witnessed people who were so appreciative of the help they were receiving. “It was great to be in the midst of people doing good for their neighbours.” Cadet Larry Campbell shared how people were drawn to the Salvation Army shield on his coat. “A bus load of volunteers had arrived to help build a dike around someone’s house, but no one was sure where to begin. It was humbling to have people look to you for guidance and direction simply because you bore the name The Salvation Army.” Larry rallied the volunteers, found a man who had some skill in building a dike, and together they moved they began working with this team of 50+volunteers to shore up support around the house.

At another location, Captain Rick Zelinsky remembers looking down the line of sandbagging volunteers to see cadet Rachel Sheils and his 12 year old daughter, Elissa, receiving the sandbags and assembling them to form the 4 foot dike. The value of the effort wasn’t lost on Rachel as she prepares to take leadership of a Salvation Army Ministry Unit in the next few months. “It would be good to organize our church to assist in this effort. Those who could handle the manual labour could help lift and carry, while others could be mobilized to assist in other ways like making and serving meals. It is a community effort, and we’re all part of it.” Whether on the sandbagging teams, the dike building lines, or in serving meals, it was evident that everyone was from somewhere else, but all were united for the good of the community, and in this way all came from the same place, the care and love for others. This wasn’t lost on Elissa Zelinsky as she offered thanks at the dinner table that evening, “God, thank you for all of the sandbags that were made, and all of the people who helped, and keep all of the people safe whose houses we were at today.”