You can be part of the problem, or you can be a force for good

To the Editor,

I suppose if for no other reason than to be contrary, I would like to share a positive experience that I have had while living here in Kneehill County. I don’t believe that there has been malicious neglect, just accidental; and frankly I’m a little disappointed with the public complaining over the county’s spending. It is in many ways my fault I guess because I am advocating for public pressure to change spending policies. There is a distinction between public pressure and outright harassment. I think that people have misconstrued some of the facts. If you want someone to blame, and saying this may make me unpopular, you should consider blaming yourself. This isn’t some conspiracy that I uncovered where some people knew certain things secretly as one article suggested “how many people were aware?” or as if someone needs to keep the civil servants on their toes. This isn’t some deep state; these are our neighbours; this is Kneehill, not Summerland. The point is people should care and they ought to care carefully. All of the information that I published is readily available to the public. The public are able to comment, participate and engage their counsellors at any time. I hope I don’t sound cynical, but it is obvious to me that the only way to motivate most people to participate in public policy at the municipal level is to increase their taxes substantially, otherwise, good luck in getting public input on infrastructure management, let alone out to vote.

That notwithstanding, the primary reason I am writing is to share something that happened to me. Almost two years ago while serving with Linden Fire I suffered an injury while fighting a structure fire just outside of Linden. I fell approximately 18 feet from the edge of a roof to the ground and slipped between the roof and ladder. I broke bones in my wrist, sacrum and found myself rehabilitating for 6 months post injury with lingering minor complications. I only have positive things to say about WCB and the physiotherapy and strengthening program that I received while recovering. More than the provincial level of care that I received, the concern and care that I received from my neighbours locally was exceptional. While the province’s system paid staff to professionally care for my recovery, the care that I received through neighbours, friends and other members of the volunteer community in Linden Fire, Carbon Fire and Three Hills Fire Departments, in particular was especially humbling.

While I was hospitalized for two and a half weeks in Three Hills, my oldest son had his fourth birthday. We had intended to take my son to the Royal Tyrrell Museum; obviously this would not work out since at the time I still needed a lot of personal assistance and was still hospitalized for this reason. I reached out to Three Hills Fire for a way to help me celebrate my son’s birthday. In place of touring dinosaur bones he was able to tour some of Three Hills Fire Trucks and a county Peace Officer’s vehicle. Since AHS was not able to provide a parking space for my boys to tour the fire trucks and because of the county parking lot’s close proximity to the hospital, moving a wheelchair from the hospital to the admin building parking lot was a relatively straight-forward process. In a community with so many seniors, having the doctors and hospital located next to the medical center is valued, especially by patients who are unable to drive. I don’t know what my son will remember from that birthday, but it will be always memorable enough for me

In addition to the wonderful moral support of Three Hills Fire for my son’s birthday, members of Linden Fire Department and others in the community rallied around my wife with a consistent stream of legendary Mennonite cooking. While cooking a meal may seem like something that is not a big deal, to my wife and I it was a very big deal. Instead of investing the time to make meals and pack lunches, our kids were fed and had more time to visit me while in the hospital removing the hassle for my wife of getting off work, getting to the hospital, quickly visiting and then getting back home to make meals and get the kids to bed. I could certainly go on telling stories of individuals shoveling snow off of my wheelchair ramp, people hauling me out of the hospital to take me to church and lunch but I think my point is clear: my neighbours and friends locally supported me and lifted me up both physically and mentally and I am immensely grateful.

Just prior to the accident my mother was diagnosed with a serious terminal illness, ALS. When I had my accident two associations donated money to help with any additional uncovered expenses. This money also helped me spend time with my mother who would pass away in less than a year. By the time my mom passed away my credit card was maxed out and I had made several trips to the west coast to see her. If there are people who helped me with my recovery and I didn’t thank you, I am sorry for not mentioning you.

I have had such excellent support through the amazing volunteers who continue to serve in our county and those who serve professionally in emergency and medical services. Whenever I call the county inquiring about some random policy or purchase price I am usually received by a friendly voice. I never have had a problem finding an answer to a question that I have and I only hear good things about Kneehill County’s current CAO. My intention is not to get people worked up, rather it is to get them involved. You can be part of the problem and be a complainer or you can be a force for good.

Christopher Morton

Swalwell, AB