Despite the difficult weekend endured by much of the City of Humboldt staff, Mayor Rob Muench expressed his heartfelt thanks to every member of the city who worked throughout the weekend to make it through.
“It’s been tough on our community but we will get through this...the way things transpired, I’ve had nothing but praise from everybody,” said Muench at the April 9 council meeting.
The response to the April 6 Humboldt Broncos bus crash was immediate, says Muench, with a response committee forming quite quickly with City of Humboldt staff, including staff at the Elgar Petersen Arena (EPA) to prepare the area to be a crisis area, Partners Family Services to over mental health support, and the Humboldt and District Fire Department and Humboldt Ambulance to offer site support.
The response from outside the city was almost as immediate with calls coming in offering resources by way of fire and policing assistance.
“It started out on Friday night with a snowball and by the time it hit the end of the hill, it was huge.”
They realized they could not do all this alone, says Muench, with outside services offering help with crowd and media control.
More and more assistance piled up throughout the weekend with local businesses offering food to those at the EPA throughout the weekend.
Council Michael Behiel says he received a comment from NBC New York saying that they have seen larger communities that have not operated through such tragedy as smoothly.
“They were just overwhelmed by the ability that we, as a small community, pulled together...they were absolutely amazed.”
The Humboldt Ministerial Association, with assistance from the city, organized the April 8 vigil in 24 hours. This included much help from surrounding communities who came to pitch in. Muench commends City Manager Joe Day for coordinating those efforts.
Director of Public Works took on handling the visit from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who attended the Saturday night vigil.
Day made specific note to the efforts of Director of Community and Leisure Services, Michael Ulriksen, who was not at council because he was still cleaning up from the weekend, noted Day.
Him and his staff were instrumental in keeping the Humboldt Uniplex open for the weekend for people to gather and preparing for Saturday’s vigil.
“His staff, what they’ve accomplished in setting up that facility was absolutely amazing. I do not want that overlooked.”
Councillor Roger Nordick said during council their the councillors roles were very minor compared to that of Muench and Day.
“It took leadership from the top to deal with this matter, and both of you did a fantastic job.”
Muench says there has been lots of support and Humboldt will get through this.
“There are other areas who are hurting in Saskatoon, Nipawin, and those areas. Their first responders. It’s going to be a process that’s going to be drawn out for the next few months or even longer.”
The monetary support as well has been pouring in for the Humboldt Broncos and the City of Humboldt. Muench has spoken with Mayor of Saskatoon, Charlie Clark, and additional administration staff will be lent to Humboldt to proceed with managing the financial assistance that has been donated to the city to help the Humboldt Broncos.