“When a need arises, he’s there - he’s helping out everyone.”
That’s what Hedley Roger, case manager with the Anglican Response Emergency committee, had to say about Rev. Eric Squires.
“He’s not only a minister, he’s working as a carpenter, electrician - he’s a hands on person.”
Squires has been the go-to man for many residents on the Bonavista Peninsula whose homes were ravaged by hurricane Igor.
Roger said he’s heard Squires say that he doesn’t want to see people fall through the cracks of government or other organizations don’t cover repair costs.
Recently, volunteers from Mennonite Disaster Services and the Christian Disaster Response team approached Squires saying, “What can we do?”
After cleaning out the basements of 147 homes, volunteers began rebuilding condemned homes. Roger is responsible for doing home assessments to determine what repairs are to made.
To date, two homes have been completed and two are in progress.
Although construction has ceased because of the Christmas holiday, it will commence in the new year.
Roger said Squires is making the world of difference to many people.
“He’s taking a lot of stress of most people. I know going in there and performing those studies or assessments, you can see the despair on people’s faces who don’t know where to turn to,” he said.
“He’s the one that they just pick up the phone and he’s gone. “He’s going to do anything in his power to just help those people.”
The day after Igor, Squires hit the ground running, getting donations.
He said the outreach and giving during that time was amazing.
“We just can’t thank them enough,” said Squires. “The fire department came from Cavendish on Sunday (after Igor)... with a load of milk, eggs, bread and butter; Father Colbert from the Roman Catholic Church came down twice in two vehicles with milk and bread.”
He noted the residents of Old Perlican also contributed.
St. Peter’s Parish Hall in Catalina was filled with food donations. There was even enough food left to store for any upcoming emergency.
After food was squared away, Squires said the Anglican Response Emergency committee started on financial assistance.
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“Money wasn’t coming out from government, we knew how long it was going to take and there’s people who need something now,” he said. “We put out a plea, the money has come in and we’ve had great success.”
Around $45,000 has come in, mainly from church organizations. Considering the Mennonite volunteer groups are providing labour to repair homes, Squires said the money is being used for building supplies.
He noted the Salvation Army also made a commitment to cover the costs of rewiring some homes. He said it works out to around $4,000 to $5,000 a residence. The Mennonite group will be bringing an electrician to do the labour.
Squires said these advancements give people a sense of faith.
“(It) gives (people) a sense of hope, especially at Christmas time,” Squires said. “All along they’ve been just hanging there, not knowing what’s going to happen, getting one story after the other (and) being built up, then down again.”
He said the feeling of satisfaction is such a reward when helping people, especially when he gets to call people and tell them good news.
Last week, Squires called two people.
The first call was to tell a couple that their house will be rewired. The second was to an elderly couple in Bonavista, whose house was to be repaired for $32,000.
When the contractor went to do repairs to the home, he found problems with the foundation that weren’t caused by Igor. Fire and Emergency Services wouldn’t cover the cost to fix pre-existing damage and the contractor couldn’t make all repairs for $32,000.
Squires said the couple took a lesser settlement and the committee will rebuild their home.
“We will come up with the extra money,” said Squires, adding he cares for people.
“I’ve had many sleepless nights sometimes because I’m worried if I can help someone or not.”
He hesitated before telling the Packet why he does all that he’s doing.
He finally responded, “I put myself in these people’s situation - how would I feel and what would I do if no one helped me?”