Hands across the water
If there is any truth to the following line from the Peace Prayer of St. Francis — “ It is in giving that we receive” — the people of Old Perlican and area should receive full credit for the way they reached out to help fellow Newfoundlanders in the wake of Hurricane Igor.
On Friday, S e p t . 2 4 t hey opened their pocket books, their cupboards, their fridges and their hearts to residents on other side of Trinity Bay, who found themselves in dire straits.
While Trinity South and Conception Bay did sustain some damages from Igor, it paled in comparison to the devastation the hurricane left on the other side of Trinity Bay and along the Bonavista and Burin peninsulas.
One of the hardest hit communities was Catalina, which had been cut off from the rest of civilization with no way to replenish supplies. Two days after the storm the people of the area were running out of food, drinking water and other basic necessities of life.
Realizing there was no way in or out of the community by land, Rev. Eric Squires was so “disturbed and tormented” by the desperate plight of the people, he couldn’t sleep. Lying awake around 2 a. m. Friday, it dawned on him, “ if we could only get a boat across the bay to Old Perlican, we could pick up some supplies from the Red Cross.
“ I was up all night thinking about it,” Rev. Squires told The Compass last week.
On Friday morning he called VOCM’s Open Line with Randy Simms and put out a public appeal for help.
He also contacted the Canadian Red Cross in St. John’s, “ who said they could meet us in Old Perlican in four hours with food and water.”
The Anglican Church minister said Garfield Tippett of Catalina came to the rescue with his 59foot long liner, Silver Foam. With Rev. Squires himself on board, they set sail for Old Perlican, a three and a half-hour steam across the bay.
Not far outside Catalina they were reminded of the devastation Igor had wrought. The skipper had to navigate through a debris field littered with everything including large highway signs Igor had washed out into the bay.
An “amazing sight” greeted Rev. Squires and the crew when they arrived at the wharf in Old Perlican.
Rev. Yvonne Hopkins, the United Church minister there, describes the scene in her community.
“ When the boat docked, pickups started arriving at the wharf. They came down to the wharf in droves, pickup after pickup, filled with food, water and other supplies for their stricken neighbours across the bay. There were all kinds of groceries and household cleaning supplies; whatever people could think of to put in a bag,” she said. Some people took up collections and bought things like food and water.
Local businesses also donated food and other supplies to the worthy cause, she noted.
People dropped off food at QuinSea Fisheries, where it was temporarily placed into large crab tubs before being packaged in cardboard boxes provided by the company for shipment aboard the boat.
“ The waterfront became a beehive of activity with everyone from women with babies helping out to elderly men directing traffic. It was unreal,” Rev. Hopkins observed.