An Albertan community in desperate need of a little magic, got a well-deserved Christmas miracle – thanks to WestJet.
For the fifth year in row, WestJet released its annual tear-jerker Christmas video and this year they stayed close to home.
WestJet went into the community for Fort McMurray and concocted a special surprise for families devastated by the May 2016 wildfire that saw the entire city evacuated.
“This year, we wanted Christmas to mean just a little bit more for the residents of Fort McMurray,” said Richard Bartrem, WestJet vice-president of marketing communications.
“WestJet is deeply connected to the community, which is why we wanted to show them how much we care. We were at the airport the day the fire hit town, and several WestJetters also lost their homes. This year’s Christmas miracle was an opportunity for WestJet to do what we do best – help connect a community, celebrate the season and bring a smile to peoples’ faces.”
WestJet hosted almost 1,000 local residents at a Snowflake Soiree at the end of November for a night they would never forget.
The party was full of surprises for families, including a variety of crafting activities, a performance by Canadian music superstar Johnny Reid and the of course the biggest surprise of all – special white boxes that floated down from the sky.
Each gift box contained personalized family portraits in a Christmas ornament and – WestJet flight vouchers for the entire family.
“I think it’s important for myself, all the people here, for the rest of the world, to show Fort McMurray that we care,” said Reid. “And that even in our darkest times, there are people out there that are going to show up and show them light, love and support.”
Among the Snowflake Soiree guests were seven families who received special gifts from WestJetters who heard the families’ stories and wanted to help by giving their own irreplaceable items.
These included an heirloom watch from the Second World War, a special snowboard and a childhood book with an encouraging message. View the families’ stories here.
“We know this will be a difficult Christmas for the community,” said Bartrem. “It’s important for us to show the people of Fort McMurray they are not forgotten.”
If you need a good cry today, Christmas Miracle: Fort McMurray Strong may be just for you.