We have all been tremendously moved by the harrowing images of the devastation and upheaval caused by the wildfire that has ripped through the community of Fort McMurray. Mass evacuations and fire ravaged homes have left people displaced and homeless – having lost everything.

One thing however, that the fire has not been able to destroy is the spirit of its community and the resolve of the emergency services battling to control the blaze. Amid the disaster, which has forced almost 90,000 residents to flee the northern Alberta city, people have been mobilizing their efforts to pitch in and help the best way they can.

The CleanMark Community is proud to share the outstanding efforts of one our Senior Territory Managers, Valerie Elliott who galvanized her colleagues and clients to help her to help those affected by the wildfire. We think Valerie’s email tells us everything about why we are so proud to be a part of the CleanMark Community:


Following CleanMark’s kind donation, I purchased cases of water for the first responders. I then used the remainder of the money to purchase pajamas for adults and children – for the families who have lost their homes and everything they own. 

I then reached out to CleanMark crews who were only too willing to help, kindly donating pajamas also. The pajamas were placed inside zippy bags with an accompanying photograph of the CleanMark crew member’s family / children, placed inside as a way to show their thoughts and support. 

I spoke with Damire from Cleanslate Sanitation Supplies, one of CleanMark’s main suppliers in Calgary, who kindly donated several cases of hand/face wipes and gloves – as many I could fit into my truck. 

I then travelled to Lac La Biche, the closest town to Fort McMurray and made my way to the evacuation center – arriving in the middle of the night – where I was met by officials who welcomed me with open arms. I was given a tour of the evacuation center and provided with a much needed cup of coffee. 

These folks then found me the last hotel room available in town.

At the hotel, I met fire fighters from Ontario, who had been battling the wildfire on the front lines. Taking their first break in a long while, they looked exhausted and were going to sleep in their vehicle – it was cold.  A local business lady showed up and paid for a hotel room for them. 

The next day I met with evacuees and handed out the pajamas. These folks are in such shock and are lost.

I met with a family who had a son and large dog in back of their truck. They had lost everything. I gave them water and wipes. They did not know where they were heading and were worried that they wouldn’t be able to find accommodation due to the size of their family pet. Tears rolled down their faces as they spoke: “Our dog is part of our family. He has lost everything too.” I suggested that they head to Edmonton evacuation center to try and access help there. I gave them gas money. 

I then met up with the fire fighters, talked with them and listened to their tragic stories. I handed out water and hand/face wipes – they were so very grateful. I shook their hands one-by-one and thanked them for their work. They asked me questions about CleanMark and my role at CleanMark. They insisted on taking pictures of themselves around my CleanMark vehicle.
It was quite overwhelming to receive such a heartfelt response from them all. 

I was then directed to the fire hall where I was to meet a fire fighter who had fought the wildfire in Slave Lake, Calgary as well as the Fort McMurray “beast”. He told me he was heading back to Fort McMurray and would make sure our donations travelled with him to be distributed among his fellow fire fighters there.

He told me he was there for the first days spent desperately fighting the wildfire to try and save Fort MacMurray. He said that all they had to eat during those days were granola bars.

The fire fighters themselves are fundraising to help colleagues – fire fighters and police officers that have lost their homes, but are still out there every day, working.

I urge everyone to donate.

Thank You CleanMark
Thank You Crews
Thank You Damire Cleanslate Sanitation Supplies
Thank You All 

Keep Safe. 

Valerie B Elliott
Senior Territory Manager
Cleanmark Group Inc




If Valerie’s actions have inspired you to help those affected by the Fort McMurray wildfire, please click on the link below to make a donation to the Alberta Fires Emergency Appeal run by the Canadian Red Cross. Every little helps.