An aerial photo showing damage to a highway in B.C. following heavy rains and flooding. Photo courtesy of Emcon Services Inc. of Merritt, BC.
Mid-November rainstorms in parts of British Columbia left regions flooded, roads collapsed and homes destroyed.
Lordco Auto Parts, based in Maple Ridge, B.C., has been doing what it can to help its neighbours throughout affected areas. In an announcement highlighting its efforts, the auto parts retailer and distributor noted that employees kept the store in the hardest-hit area open and donated to the Red Cross’ British Columbia Floods & Extreme Weather Appeal.
Merritt was one of the cities hard-hit by the weather. Its 7,100 residents were given an evacuation order. It would be weeks until residents could start returning home to assess damages.
“I did not know about the flood until the water was up beside the store. No more than a half-hour later, we were told to evacuate,” said Mike Coates, manager of Lordco’s Merritt branch. “But as an essential service worker, I was allowed to remain behind.”
Manager of Lordco’s Merritt branch Mike Coates conducts a hose repair for two work machines that went down during flood recovery efforts in the city. Photo courtesy of Emcon Services Inc. of Merritt, B.C.
While he returned to work, the store couldn’t be open to the public as a state of emergency was in effect. However, he was in touch with city workers and emergency personnel to let them know that the branch was able to serve their needs. He posted his mobile phone number on the door for people to reach him after hours.
“The first to contact me was city personnel. They needed batteries, work lights, and tools to keep up their 24-hour workdays,” Coates said. “Then the road crews started contacting the store to find parts to repair their trucks. We also did some after-hours hydraulic hose repairs for equipment used in the recovery effort.”
On Dec. 6, the store was finally re-opened to the public.
The flood was just another challenge endured in 2021, on top of the pandemic and supply chain challenges, noted Candace Gottschalk, vice president of human resources at Lordco.
“No matter the challenge, they are always ready to go above and beyond to support their local communities,” she noted. “Likewise, we are always ready to support them and the communities in which we operate.”
Crews work in Merritt to repair damage caused by floods. Photo courtesy of Emcon Services Inc. of Merritt, BC.
The week before Christmas, Lordco partnered with the Canadian Red Cross to set up an online donation portal for employees wishing to donate to the British Columbia Floods & Extreme Weather Appeal.
Employees donated $16,227. Lordco promised to match all donations made by employees, bringing the total donation to the appeal to $32,454.
“Seeing people’s water-damaged possessions piled up on the sides of the roads waiting for scrap pick up was heart-wrenching,” said Coates. “It will be a long time till life is back to normal for the people of Merritt but seeing people in town step up to help others and the donation made by Lordco Auto Parts gives me hope that things will get better.”