Sault Ste. Marie’s Super 8 Motel General Manager Kyle Schneider says “he was absolutely blown away.”
Schneider made that statement to describe the quick willingness of Sault Ste. Marie businesses to help Wawa residents dealing with the effects of the recent storm and flooding that devastated the community.
Schneider says he has also been dazzled by the resilience of Wawa residents and their own compassionate spirit in the wake of the flooding.
Schneider emphasized to SooToday.com that Super 8 Motel’s Sault location on Great Northern Road did indeed step up to help Wawa residents, but that it was a group of several Sault businesses that assisted.
“The whole point was a lot of businesses really came together, it wasn’t just us at Super 8. It was us that drove up to Wawa and dropped things off, but a lot of businesses have been amazing,” he said. “Last Thursday morning, myself and our Sales Director Gary Rooley were discussing business and we found out one of our customers, Noella Depew, was affected with the flooding. Her house was in a state where she couldn’t access it at that point, not sure how solid the ground was.”
“We figured we need to do something for Noella, and others in Wawa, so we started calling other businesses in town to assist in some kind of relief effort,” Schneider explained. “We were absolutely blown away by the response.”
“We put together a package to go to these families in Wawa and said ‘hey, we know everything that’s going on now is hectic, we just want to give you an out, a place to get away to for a couple of days and try and relax and get your mind off things.”
“What we did is put together a package for each family to come to the Sault for a couple of days,” he said. “McDougal stepped up and gave gift cards for gas, Spadoni’s National Car Rental provided discounts off car rentals, Soo Yellow Cab will give free transportation around town while the Wawa people are here.”
Schneider added various restaurants, such as Wacky Wings, Boston Pizza and North 82, provided gift cards for food.
“We headed out to Wawa and we met up with certain families,” he told us. “We met Jim and Debbie Sanders [who lost their home], Noella Depew and John and Maureen Parker [who owned the Northern Lights Motel, hit hard by the storm].”
“We picked them simply because we all can imagine here just what they went through. The Motel for the Parkers…that was their livelihood,” Schneider said. “We brought goods and services to them which they can use at anytime, when they get a chance to come to the Sault to get away from their current situations. I imagine it’ll take them a few days before they get here, and we’re looking forward to seeing them in the Sault.”
Schneider notes that Wawa is typically very welcoming and neighbourly, and was impressed by the residents’ resilience in the face of the damage caused by the storm, with an ability to look to the future.
Schneider says he was amazed by Jim Sanders.
“When we handed Jim Sanders, who lost his home and vehicle, one of the gifts from Christie’s RV, he said: ‘Let me give this back to someone else in the world who needs it, because we’re minor on a scale of what’s going on in the world'.”
Schneider said: “When he said that, it really hit home. He just lost his house and he’s telling us take it back and give it to someone else in a harder spot...it was awesome meeting him.”
Sault businesses that pitched in to help with goods and services were:
- Christie's RV
- Mac's Convenience Great Northern Road
- North 82
- Winners Cambrian Mall
- Spadoni's National Car Rental
- Shoppers Cambrian Mall
- Athletes Foot Station Mall
- Lockcity Dairies
- Wacky Wings
- Easy Home Sault
- McDougal Energy
- Soo Yellow Cab
- Boston Pizza
- Giovanni's Restaurant
- Sweet Designs
- Metro Northern Avenue