Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by Photo Submitted

BUILDING THE BERM — The young volunteers add sandbags to a berm at Marsh Lake. Photo courtesy of MICHAEL TUTON

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Photo by Photo Submitted

HOCKEY SANDBAGGERS — Michael Tuton poses with his young volunteers, who helped battle flooding on Marsh Lake. Photo courtesy of MICHAEL TUTON

Hockey coach rallies former players to help battle flooding

Minor hockey coach Michael Tuton rallied his former players to help out with sandbagging in the Marsh Lake area of Yukon.

By Morris Prokop on July 19, 2021

Minor hockey coach Michael Tuton rallied his former players to help out with sandbagging in the Marsh Lake area of Yukon. Tuton is also a Yukon First Nations Education Advocate for the Yukon First Nations Education Directorate (YFNED).

Tuton says his team of volunteers was a collection of kids he coached in the past, from several different teams, as well as kids from his Indigenous Leaders program.

“Where it started is I work for the Yukon First Nation Education Directorate and I have an Indigenous leadership program this year, where we’re doing some certain different activities. Golfing was supposed to be one of them. We hadn’t made it out of the golf course because of what was going on, so I had my four or five Indigenous leadership kids out there, and once we realized the severity of the situation, more and more kids volunteered to come out. It was actually pretty fun.”

Tuton’s group spent a considerable amount of time filling sandbags and helping out in the area. “My leadership kids… we spent a couple weeks out there. Last week we ended up bringing out… some more of the hockey kids volunteered to come out and help us.”

According to Tuton, 10 or more kids helped out, with the age range of the kids from roughly 12 to 18 or 19.

“We were at Marsh Lake. So we came out… I have a place out there, and we spent the first week… we were all over. Whoever needed the help the most. We were in good contact with the EMO (Emergency Measures Organization), and they had a few places of some elderly people who could use help, and we sent the whole team over to help in a few different places. So we were on South McClintock for a couple days, bagging and really just battling against the rise in the water. We spent some days just at the stations themselves, preparing bags, and loading up vehicles that came that needed bags, offering our assistance to whoever needed it. And the last few days we spent at my neighbour’s place and our place, as we had a pretty considerable sized wall that needed to be built. We were fighting every day.”, recalled Tuton.

Tuton says they filled an astounding amount of sandbags.

“Thousands. Yeah. We had quite the crew. And every day we had maybe a few different people. A lot of people from the YFNED, and we have a lot of different camps going on right now, and at the beginning we pulled in all of our junior advocates to come out and help, and, yeah, we had quite the production going on there for a couple of weeks.”

Tuton humbly attributes the group’s success solely to the kids.

“I tell you we wouldn’t have been that successful if it weren’t for those kids. They all showed up ready to work, and worked pretty hard throughout every day that they were there, and there was no complaints from any of them. I actually had lots of texts of people saying they could come back out – just let me know when we needed them.”

Tuton adds, “It was great to see all the kids again and working under such important circumstances.

“You know how happy I was to have those kids there. A lot of them are outside playing hockey and haven’t seen them in a season or two, and it was just… it was a nice place, and a nice time to get together with these kids, and they really got it. They understood the severity of what was going on. We’d take 15, 20 minute lunches, and work all day. And just to see where these kids have come, and who they are as people, was actually astonishing.”

Comments (4)

Up 8 Down 11

John D on Jul 21, 2021 at 12:11 pm

Great shot of 11 people huddled together without any masks! Safe 6 for the win!

Up 11 Down 4

Marc lrwin on Jul 19, 2021 at 11:39 pm

Great work Michael and crew!! Way to pull together!

Up 22 Down 3

123 on Jul 19, 2021 at 4:05 pm

Good work Tuton and crew.

Up 24 Down 2

Huge Thanks! on Jul 19, 2021 at 3:52 pm

They were amazing and it was great to see them out! Thank you for organizing, Mike! and huge thanks to them for doing a LOT of the heavy lifting!

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