An open letter to the Provincial and Regional Emergency Response teams in Fort McMurray

Bob Couture

Director of Emergency Management

200 Airport Road

Fort McMurray, Alberta


Dear Mr. Couture,

On behalf of the TELUS organization, we want to thank you and the members of the Provincial and Regional Emergency Response teams for their dedication and commitment to the citizens of Fort McMurray.

As the men and women behind the scenes, many people may be unfamiliar with the role you play – though you worked tirelessly through the days and nights to coordinate the response to an emergency of this magnitude. You and the team have been unrelenting in your coordination on the ground to protect people, homes and businesses. Essential services, supplies and a multitude of other urgent logistical aspects are being thoughtfully managed 24/7 by the dedicated team at 200 Airport Road. Your focus never wavered, even when your own operations centre had to be moved and evacuated more than once during the event.

In particular, we want to recognize you, along with Scott Long – Executive Director of Alberta Emergency Management, Darby Allen – Fort McMurray Fire Chief, Steve Carr – Deputy Director of Emergency Management, and Robert Kirby – Director of Transit Services, for demonstrating remarkable leadership throughout this difficult experience.

We are immeasurably grateful for your team’s support in the protection of our infrastructure, which helped keep critical communications up and running at a time when the community and first responders needed it most. Your coordinated support ensured our technicians could safely execute their work and protect key infrastructure.

When we have floods, fires and other disasters, it takes a special group of people to put aside the overwhelming complexity and personal impacts, and focus on protecting and restoring a community. Even while some members of the operations centre lost their homes, you put priority on saving others from experiencing the same. Because of the tremendous efforts of the Provincial and Regional Emergency Response teams, Fort McMurray is safe, resilient and together, with many of its structures left standing and critical infrastructure in place.

And now, you face the monumental task of helping the community return, restore, and rebuild. Although the city will be forever changed, we know that your grit, compassion and expertise will drive the city forward. Know that the TELUS team is standing with you – and in recognition of your entire team’s unwavering dedication to our community, we are donating $10,000 to the United Way of Fort McMurray, your charity of choice, on your behalf. We are also happy to report that TELUS customers, team members and ambassadors have helped raise more than $1.25 million for the Canadian Red Cross to further support the community.

Please accept the heartfelt thanks and appreciation from our team in Fort McMurray, and all of us here at TELUS.


Jason Macdonnell, Senior Vice-president, Customer Solutions Delivery and Member of the TELUS team

Brian Bettis, General Manager – Alberta North, Customer Solutions Delivery and Member of the TELUS team