D/Cst. Leigh Schutt spends his shifts overseeing the safety of our community by flying over Durham Region as a member of our Air Support Unit. This time, he took to the skies to deliver aid to the struggling community of Attawapiskat as part of OVERT, the Ontario Volunteer Emergency Response Team. The community has been struggling with contaminated water and the resulting medical side effects.
Since 2003, Leigh has been volunteering with OVERT and is currently one of their Search Managers and Canine Handlers. He has wanted to go on a humanitarian mission since he started with the team and was supposed to be deployed to Haiti, but due to scheduling conflicts he was unable to go. So when the Scugog First Nations Baagwating Community Association pledged $100,000 to provide aid to their struggling neighbours to the north, Leigh jumped on the chance to help out.
“This was a great opportunity to bring help from my own community to one in need,” said Leigh. “And that I would be able to see the immediate effect of our efforts made it an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.”
The OVERT team deployed on Jan. 5 and was made up of Leigh, Troy Cheseboro an EMS worker from Durham Region, Dean Wood an EMS worker from Toronto and Amir Azimi who is a certified water technician. Upon arrival, they met the Interim Fire Chief Hookimaw and Chief Spence and discussed the details of the plan. During the four-day mission they tested the water at the water filtration plant, the residents’ homes, the hospital and the grocery store. Armed with that information they installed 250 personal water filters, handed out 200 hygiene packs and distributed thermal clothing, teddy bears, fire extinguishers and smoke alarms. Everyone in the community was extremely appreciative of their efforts and welcomed them into their homes.
“I’ve always wanted to go on a mission and I thought that I would go on one and get it out of my system,” said Leigh. “But now, after meeting all of the amazing people of the Attawapiskat community and seeing the difference we could make, I can’t wait for the next one.”
overt thumb (JPG file, 32.5K bytes)
D/Cst. Leigh Schutt helps unload the plane (JPG file, 291.7K bytes)
Two Attawapiskat youths play hockey (JPG file, 371.3K bytes)
The OVERT team - Troy, Amir, Leigh and Dean (JPG file, 297.7K bytes)