A member of Sylvan Lake’s Toastmasters Club has been recognized for his efforts in last year’s flood recovery in High River and Calgary, recently receiving the province’s Hero of the Flood Award.
Dr. Dave Cartledge, a Red Deer-based veterinarian and member of Sylvan’s Slick Speakers Toastmasters, said he wasn’t expecting the award, but was honoured to receive it, nonetheless.
“I didn’t volunteer for the award, I volunteered because people needed help,” he said. “I just received it in the mail; it was a complete surprise.”
Cartledge initially planned to help friends in High River affected by the flooding, but ended up helping anyone he possibly could.
His efforts saw him travel between Calgary and High River over two weekends, providing help wherever it was needed. He cleared mud and water out of yards, garages and homes, and removed damaged furniture and household appliances.
“There was a lot of mud, and we had masks to keep on our faces, because all the water was contaminated,” he said. “They were hot days, and we were down in the basement the first day I was in High River. It was sunny, so we had small windows to let the sunlight through so we could see what we were doing, but when the clouds came over, we couldn’t see a thing.
“Somebody showed up with a couple of headlamps, so then we got back to work.”
Cartledge decided to take action after fellow Toastmasters told him stories of the devastation caused by the flood.
Through contact with Calgary members of the communication- and leadership-focused club, he learned where his efforts would be best directed.
Upon arriving, he joined forces with droves of other volunteers eager to help.
He now hopes his own story will encourage others to consider volunteer work.
“You don’t do things for awards,” he said. “You just do things to help other people.”