Fort McMurray’s Former Fire Chief Darby Allen Reflects on the People Who Stood by Him During the Historic Blaze
One year after the fire that nearly consumed the city of Fort McMurray, Alberta—and certainly gripped the nation—former Fire Chief Darby Allen speaks poignantly on the people who worked with him to save lives and provide aid in the midst of crisis. In light of his accomplishments, on May 29, Allen was given the President’s Award by the Canadian Public Relations Society.
“We are here. We are strong.” The words float to the surface of the screen in CPRS’s video honouring Allen’s calm heroism. Quoting the various leaders (including PM Justin Trudeau) and publications (The Globe & Mail; National Post) who cited Allen’s strength in staying the harrowing course, the award recognizes “the outstanding effort of a Canadian who through their communications leads to the advancement / betterment of the public relations practice at large.”
One aspect of Allen’s exceptional leadership is his empathy. A few months into his well-earned retirement, Allen speaks with humility about his experience in Fort McMurray, recounting the heroism of others more than his own. In his own words, he describes the indispensible support of his colleagues, and the power of a brand-new Canadian flag to welcome people home.