[captionpix imgsrc=”http://netnewsledger.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/ron-hebert-photo-by-Lynda-Henshell-the-tent.jpg” captiontext=”Rob Hebert is still living in a tent with his dog Teeka, but better days are ahead for him” width=”620″ height=”413″]
THUNDER BAY – It’s been over two months since Ron Hebert has had some horrible luck and was displaced from his home during the Thunder Bay flood on May 28th, but it seems his luck is finally changing. “One good thing came up just recently, I finally got a residence to move into in September”, says Herbert, “Which is really sweet”.
After his story appeared in the media in July Herbert says he’s gotten all kinds of offers from people wanting to help him and his 2 year old dog Teeka with everything from food to clothing to tools. “It just blew me away, I was really surprised and happy at the same time”.
[captionpix imgsrc=”http://netnewsledger.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Displaced-resident-Ron-Hebert-with-his-dog-Teeka.-Lynda-Henshell.jpg” captiontext=”Displaced resident Ron Hebert with his dog Teeka. Photo by Lynda Henshell” width=”620″ height=””]
Even the Mayor of Thunder Bay Keith Hobbs has stopped by to visit the down and out pair and offer his help filling out flood insurance forms and even bringing a mattress for Hebert’s cot. “He even helped me by helping with securing a place, which he did on his own time. He didn’t have to do that but it was really kind. People have been very kind”, says Hebert, “Empathy was a big thing here”.
Many people have offered donations of household items and furniture but unfortunately Hebert has been unable to take them since he has no where to store them right now.
One of the biggest challenge facing Hebert while waiting for his new residence is lack of sleep, “I stay up most nights because I really can’t sleep out here. Not because people are bad but because for some reason there’s a lot of drinking going on”.
Hebert says he has had drunk people trying to break into his home and try and jump his fence but him and his dog keep a vigilant watch throughout the night to deter would be thieves. “I spend a lot of time inside just reading or listening for the dog, cause if I don’t hear something she hears it,” he says “It’s been a tiresome time and he’s getting burnt out a bit,” but he is glad he and Teeka are safe.
“I don’t have much but what I do have is pretty important to me right now”.
When it comes to the whole flood relief process Hebert thinks there’s a lot of confusion and wants people to remember that it wasn’t just the East End that was effected.
“There’s a lot of blame going around and a lot of centering on one area. Like the East End, I have a lot of pity for them because they really got hit but people don’t understand that a lot of different areas in Thunder Bay got creamed just as bad and some were worse”.
The flooding in Thunder Bay was widespread throughout the city and Hebert says after the initial pleas to help the flood victims it’s important to remember that it’s not over for some.
“It’s the aftermath. Some of these people still can’t go home. I know there’s people like me who still have to live in their tent. There’s people in LU Shelters that have to leave when the students come back. Where do they go? Some of these people can’t work and don’t have money to move into a new place what are they going to do?”
He is hopeful that the flood money is going to help everybody but is concerned because they “Do not know when it will be received or how much they will get or how it will be distributed. I’m really hoping we get a little more information on how that is going to work”.
He is also very grateful to the Salvation Army and the Canadian Red Cross, “I stayed out at Neebing, I was the first guy registered there. Beautiful people, I mean they went out of their way to do everything they could to help us. The Red Cross was beautiful, they fed me, they gave me things to wash myself, they gave me showers. It was incredible because the Salvation Army and the Red Cross were working together, focusing on trying to help everybody get stuff. I give them an A plus”.
Hebert plans to move into his new place with Teeka at the end of September, get settled in and then look into going back to school. “I figure maybe a little carpentry or small engine repair something that’s not too crazy”. For now though Hebert and Teeka will have to survive through another month of camping out in the now cooler temperatures using blankets and each other to keep warm at night. Donations of furniture and household item will be needed for Mr. Hebert once he has moved but since he is unable to store them he is asking that people give to others in need.
Story and photographs by Lynda Henshell
To help with the recovery effort, visit www.thunderbay.ca/flood
Also, Annual summer Walmart Canadian Red Cross Disaster Management Program Fundraiser Event this Saturday August, 11th. From 10AM-6PM.
Come meet some of the local Disaster Management Team, visit our booth, and remember to support the Local Disaster Management Program by donating a dollar when shopping at Walmart this Weekend.