The ‘Basement Bunch’ – Unsung heroes of the Thunder Bay Flood


Volunteers from St Peter's Church with
Bill Mauro, Mitchell Curtis, Lisa French, Minister Wynne, Ray Barnwell, Dan Chiarello, Shannon Hobbs and Michael Gravelle

THUNDER BAY – There are going to be long lists of people to thank over the coming weeks and months in Thunder Bay. In reporting what was happening from May 28th forward, one group of volunteers really stood out for all they did. That was the group who took over the basement at St. Peters Church and co-ordinated relief and help to the people most in need.

Mitchell Curtis, Lisa French, Ray Barnwell, Dan Chiarello, and Shannon Hobbs, just to name a few of the ‘Basement Bunch’, who all stepped up and started the path to recovery. They were aided by social media, and countless people from Thunder Bay. It was a genuine example of what should happen when others are in trouble.

In mere days the Facebook group grew to almost 6000 people. It was a live-real-time view of who need help and who was helping.

Often in Thunder Bay, we think of our city as a place with a giant heart. The efforts by the people are the muscle and caring faces of our city.

The path back to ‘normal’ is going to be a long and tough one. Many people across our city have lost a lot of possessions. The journey back to where we should all be started with the work of caring volunteers.

At St. Peter’s Church, Father Terry and his parish are other ‘unsung heroes’. Their Church was right in the middle of the problems. Their doors were opened wide, and their hearts were open to all. Likely the Church will have a major jump in this month’s hydro bill. Hopefully a few souls in our city will step up to help them too.

If there is ever a time when someone starts talking down on Thunder Bay or tells you this city doesn’t care. All you have to do is remember the ‘Basement Bunch’ and Father Terry.

James Murray

Update: Keep in touch with the “Basement Bunch” on Facebook!