Twice flooded in 50 years, Hay River man picks up the pieces again

·2 min read
Stan Pope was 10 years old during the 1963 flood in Hay River. His family moved from Vale Island to new town to avoid a future flooding situation. It didn't work.  (Natalie Pressman/ CBC - image credit)
Stan Pope was 10 years old during the 1963 flood in Hay River. His family moved from Vale Island to new town to avoid a future flooding situation. It didn't work. (Natalie Pressman/ CBC - image credit)

In 1963, when Stan Pope was 10 years old, he and parents lost everything in the devastating flooding that hit Hay River, N.W.T.

Hoping to avoid future flooding, the family moved away from the house on Vale Island onto Riverview Drive, near downtown. But just under 50 years later, Pope finds himself in a similar situation, just one of many whose homes were damaged or destroyed when the Hay River unexpectedly surged over its banks in the middle of the night earlier this month.

His basement was completely destroyed including his bathroom suite that he "loved."

Natalie Pressman/ CBC
Natalie Pressman/ CBC

But Pope isn't focusing on what he lost.

"I saved my motorcycle, because I really love my old Harley," he said.

Pope said he's trying to focus on the positive side of things and finding laughs where he can.

"The best thing is to get moving, get doing something, stop feeling sorry for yourself," he said.

Pope said he was depressed at first, but once he started working on his home and getting some good sleep, he began to feel better.

Now he's encouraging other people community to do the same, to busy themselves in their work and find joy where they can.

That's what his daughter Kendall is doing.

She is on a mission to save her DVD collection that was damaged in the flooding.

Natalie Pressman/ CBC
Natalie Pressman/ CBC

The last time she counted, she had over 900 DVDs which were left behind when she had to quickly leave town when as the water crept into her backyard.

"It's keeping me busy which is nice," Kendall said of her recovery mission.

The collection stems from a love of movies, she said, but it has also sparked some art projects. Kendall makes collages from the DVD jackets, which were also unfortunately destroyed in the flood.

It's not just movies she collects. She said she has numerous DVD sets of some her favourite shows including Grey's Anatomy, the OC and One Tree Hill, all of which were underwater.

Kendall said she's unsure if they will work again, but she's hopeful.

"Pretty sure I can save them all," she said.

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