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Ice Storm Radio Interview | Cool ICE FIGHTERS Coordinating Centres
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COOL ICE FIGHTERS INTERVIEW
Q - Hello J.P. Mac.... Here's another crisis and the Cool team is there!
Yes that's right...last time we talked I spoke to you from the junction of the Red and Assinaboine rivers as the Flood of the century ravaged Manitoba. Today the Cool Action Team is in Eastern Canada trying to help in any way we can.
Q - Can you recap for us what Cool is about?
As you know, Cool is a private, non-profit organization devoted to YOUTH EMPLOYMENT through the "Missing Link Job Search Fund" and Economic Encouragement and Job Creation through the Be / Buy / Boost Canadian "Youth Marketing Program"
Q - What was Cool doing just before the ICE STORM hit?
Before Christmas, a special Be/Buy/Boost Fax Colouring Book was introduced to Cool supporters.... it was, and I guess still is.. being faxed around Canada from neighbour to neighbour and school to school to encourage and empower young people to influence adults to do the right thing... we are confident that just like the introduction many years ago of the three R's of Recycling (through young people), the results of our Be / Buy / Boost Fax Colouring Book will be to help create jobs and a stronger community.
Q - When you have a great website, why are you faxing these books?
We chose faxing because it is cheap, simple, the fax received folds into a Cool little book.... and almost everyone can access a fax machine.
Q - Do any Big Shot Canadian Celebrities support Cool?
Some friends of a few famous Canadian celebrities, have asked us if we would be interested in celebrity endorsement of the Cool effort.... of course our answer is yes.. but keeping in mind that Cool is "us", I mean, all Canadians... so celebrities who promote Cool really endorse themselves and in the process encourage all Canadians to recognize how "Cool it is INDEED" to be Canadian!
Q - Have you had much recognition?
Yes, Canadians have really jumped on the Cool bandwagon....for example, a friend in Winnipeg called me over Christmas to tell me that our web address "www.cool.ca" which had appeared in a photograph on the front page of the Winnipeg Sun during the flood, and is now in a coffee table book about the flood called "Red River Rising"! Cool to be Canadian has also been on the front page of the Globe and Mail and Montreal Gazette and had a number of very supportive and positive articles written about it... when you have a chance, take a look at the "Faxx" section of the Cool site, lots of the original articles are archived there.
Q - Well, what about the ICE STORM in Eastern Canada? You say Cool is recruiting volunteers to help the situation?
Yes Steve, Cool is again encouraging volunteer efforts and collecting equipment and funds to help those volunteers do the right thing, when it is needed. The important thing here is that we don't want our volunteers to pay for everything out of their own pockets as they did during the Manitoba Blizzard and Flood last year... it doesn't cost anything to fill and stack sandbags, it DOES cost something to fuel a vehicle, a generator and a chainsaw, repair and maintain tools, buy warm work gloves and feed yourself away from home and so on...
Q - What are these Cool volunteers doing?
Well, you know that the actual storm is over, but it's getting colder and the ice and broken trees are littering the ground and threatening many power and telephone lines... of course we're not qualified to do the work of the Hydro crews... and we stay away from anything potentially live... but Hydro crews have said to me that it is a real help to have the stuff on the ground cut up and moved out of the way before they come in. I don't think your listeners can really imagine the mess that Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec is in... in some cases streets with power are still blocked by big trees or branches, simply because municipal crews have never had a combined workload like this before.
Q - You mention the trees, but what about electricity?
The numbers are going down dramatically all the time, but imagine if you were one of the people that still doesn't have power... you don't care what the numbers are, you just want a little encouragement that somebody cares... so we are going around with a couple of generators we have, offering an hour or so of electricity to fire up the oil furnace, a fridge, a few lights.... whatever we can do to encourage people. Hydro is saying some people will not have electricity for weeks.
While the generator is running, we help with the clean up of trees and other things that the homeowner is worried about...
Q - How do Cool volunteers do this without being paid?
Well, sometimes homeowners offer a donation to Cool, so we suggest the volunteer keep 90% of the donation for expenses and their time and pass 10% along to Cool as a sort of "tithe" to help Cool keep things going.
Q - It sounds like an employment program of some sort... is it?
We're not waiting around to get paid for our efforts.. but if Pierre Pettigrew wants to use our list of volunteers as deserving recipients of the 45 million Federal dollars he has to spend... GREAT! ... however from our experience in the Manitoba Flood of '97, it wasn't the money that motivated Cool volunteers... it was doing the RIGHT THING at the RIGHT TIME.. not waiting until the time was right!
... We know first hand that what goes around, comes around! That's why it is so Cool to be Canadian 364 days a year!
Q - Well J.P. it sounds like you have a great Canadian crew there, doing some good things... what can we do to help?
Basically we need the support to support our volunteers.... we need Generators, Chainsaws, Tree Trimming Equipment, Gasoline, Oil, and a bunch more 4X4's or pickup trucks... you can check out the website for the complete list, and coordinate your donation with our national "Cool-Ordinator" Cathy Stewart... her e-mail is on the website.
Q - Those are pretty big and expensive items, are people really that generous?
Yes, lots of Canadians are that generous, but for big items it's usually community groups that can manage getting a generator or chainsaw to us... but we're not asking for a new one, just one that works, and if the donating group wants it returned once we're finished with it, we're happy to do that.... we also need hardhats, warm gloves and other safety equipment to protect volunteers... those items aren't very expensive.
Q - What if people want to help, but not with equipment?
If you don't have the listed equipment, but still want to help, you can't send us gasoline of course, but you can send a cash donation for that purpose... the addresses again are on the website.
Q - You mentioned other ways that listeners can help...
Yes, the second important thing that your listeners can do to help is contribute to making the Cool to be Canadian site a showcase of Canadian web expertise... we want to show that Canadians are leaders in using the web to communicate in dynamic, interactive ways... it's your site, so we should be working together to make it the best!
The Cool site has started to find its niche as a sort of "Canadian concience" helping the Red Cross, The Salvation Army, and other traditional organizations help Canadians in new "Cool Ways". The Cool site is designed by young people, for young people, who are interested in action and are not afraid to be involved.
In fact, last night our crew was warming up at the Website Cafe in Ste-Anne de Bellevue, on Montreal's West Island, where owner Maurice Aubin is helping encourage Cool volunteers. He's serving up hot coffee and coordinating Cool Action Teams in his area. His websitecafe.com site is linked from Cool's site. We encourage people to visit and support all the cyber cafe's that support Cool!
Oh, did I tell you about the Canadian guy living in Japan that has offered $1,000. to help? It seems that people who leave Canada really appreciate the cool people we have here!
One of the main things we would like to do with the Cool website is create a gallery of all the Cool Canadians who helped during the ICE STORM... someway that people can RECOGNIZE eachother, whether they we true Heros, or just helping, as Canadians do in crisis situations.
Q - J.P., if you would like to leave one message for my listeners...
Be Cool, Be Canadian, and help us help your neighbours get through difficult times like this ICE STORM. Be Canadian 364 days a year... be positive, have fun, and of course, check out www.cool.ca
J.P. MAC - Web Spokesperson firstname.lastname@example.org www.cool.ca
Cathy Stewart - email@example.com National Donations
Maurice Aubin - Web Site Cafe, www.websitecafe.com
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