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Fundraiser for flood-devastated Chilliwack family surpasses goal

Effort for the McConnells is hoped to inspire others
Allison McConnell and her family lost their home, camper and two vehicles after heavy rains this week flooded the Vedder river. ( photo)

A gofundme campaign launched to help a Chilliwack family that has incurred devastating losses in this week’s flooding has so far raised more than $24,000.

Ryan Kononoff said Allison McConnell – who is operations manager at Clearbridge Business Solutions in Abbotsford – contacted him at around 1 a.m. Monday (Nov. 15) to tell him that the dike between the Vedder river and her family’s home had burst.

While the family, including their dog, were safe at a relative’s home within hours – thanks to first responders – “their trailer was swept away, their vehicles were swept away,” Kononoff said.

“The house… it’s basically demolished.”

Now trying to figure out what can be recovered – McConnell’s husband Clay was able to return to the property Friday morning to see what could be salvaged – like so many others impacted by the flooding, what lies ahead, including what the future of their property looks like, is uncertain.

Kononoff said efforts to support McConnell, who has been with Clearbridge for “quite a few years,” quickly took shape, and the response has been heartwarming.

As of Friday afternoon, $24,710 had been raised, with donations ranging from $5 to $5,000.

Kononoff said the effort is nothing short of what McConnell herself would have led had fate put one of her co-workers in a similar position. A big part of the caring culture at Clearbridge “was groomed and developed because of Allison,” he said.

“She’s being treated on and loved on the same way we know she would’ve done for anyone else here.”

Kononoff said initially, the goal was to collect $10,000 for the family, but as donations started to come in, it was quickly realized that the bar needed to be raised, so it was doubled. And while even that next amount was quickly exceeded, Kononoff said it is “just a drop in the bucket for what they’re going to need.”

He said despite the experience, McConnell is in good spirits and grateful for the health and safety of her family. Kononoff hopes by sharing her resilience and the efforts that have gone into supporting the family, that others will be inspired to “think about who in their world needs a helping hand” and also take action.

Other efforts underway to assist those hard-hit by flooding in the Fraser Valley include that of farmers who have been stepping up to help Eastern Fraser Valley farmers. As well, Surrey Police Service officers were deployed to help on Wednesday and Thursday; and, a disaster relief fund has been established.

To donate to the McConnell family, visit
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Allison McConnell and her family lost their home, camper and two vehicles after heavy rains this week flooded the Vedder river. ( photo)

Tracy Holmes

About the Author: Tracy Holmes

Tracy Holmes has been a reporter with Peace Arch News since 1997.
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