Hope From the Ashes’: Calgary rescue worker helps Fort McMurray fire relief with book of poetry

What he experienced in the Fort McMurray area this month had a big impact on Johnny Walker.

“Really, really overwhelming just to see people so worried about whether they have anything to go back home to,” Walker said.

Now he’s turning those experiences into a book of poetry he’s selling, donating all proceeds to the fire relief effort.

Walker spent a week in the fire zone, volunteering his services as an emergency rescue technician, “putting out spot fires, helping people that got small cuts.”

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  • Atlantic Canadians with connection to Fort McMurray lending helping handFort McMurray wildfire: Friends, strangers, refugees compelled to helpFort McMurray wildfire: Pet owners get a helping hand to save animals left behindHe’s now trying to help with his book “Hope From the Ashes”.In one poem, called “Into the Gates of Hell,” Walker writes, “darkness fills the sky, even in the daylight. Plumes of thick smoke, billowing from within the earth’s floor.”“I’ve been writing poetry since I was a child,” Walker said. “Words just come into my head and I start writing things down.”Walker published a similar book after volunteering in the aftermath of the southern Alberta floods in 2013.Sales of that book raised more than $8,000 for relief efforts, and Walker’s now hoping for a similar response to “Hope From the Ashes.”The book is available through Facebook here.