Bethune opens hall during storm

The October 23rd storm saw travellers stranded across southern Saskatchewan Highways. For those travelling near Bethune on Highway 11, the Town of Bethune opened their doors.

Bethune Mayor Chris Lloyd said they didn’t expect the storm to be as bad as it was, but when he noticed on the community forum that people were coming off the highway going to the already-filled local hotel/bar, the decision to open the hall.

“It was pretty hard for people to get off the highway even if they wanted to.” Lloyd said the conditions were such that some had to abandon their vehicles after getting stuck with people going out to bring them off the road.

Lloyd’s parents and others were taking people in who were stuck, “There were already quite a few families scattered around town. Different residents took them in.”

It was a joint effort between Town Council, the Fire Department and the Hall Board to open the hall. They posted on social media that if residents had people knocking on their doors, they could direct them to the hall and flares lit the way.

“We set up tables and chairs and gave them a food spread with food, snacks and coffee. We had gym mats that we used for beds and we brought over some bedding.”

Four people stayed the night at the hall, with a few more coming in the following day.

Lloyd said sometimes it takes an event like the storm to bring a community back together, “This really rekindled what a small town is all about. What we are here for in the spirit of small towns. It was nice to have everybody come together to help people that were in a desperate situation. Sometimes people lose sight of what’s it is to live in a small town. It was nice for everybody to help out and reach out if they wanted to offer their help.”

Jennifer Argue, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Last Mountain Times