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Music: another way to help

May 17, 2016

AHS staff member writes song to recognize generosity and inspire weary souls

Story by Erika Sherk; Photo by Tracy Goy

PEACE RIVER - Ken Garnett was ready to deploy to Fort McMurray. However, with an outpouring of willing volunteers, the Alberta Health Services (AHS) maintenance lead in Peace River wasn’t called to go. He wanted to help somehow, so instead Garnett wrote a song – ‘Alberta Strong.’ (4mins)

“I think pretty well everybody’s felt kind of helpless that they couldn’t help out in some way,” says the 59-year-old. “This song is my small contribution to help people maintain a positive spirit.”

Garnett, a singer-songwriter in his free time, says his goal is to assist in the effort to maintain a positive spirit for AHS staff and fellow Albertans who have been affected by the fire in Ft. McMurray.

“The story of the song is that even in the worst times, people stick together and help each other,” he says.

He played it for staff of the Peace River Community Health Centre and they felt it had to be shared.

“It’s a wonderful song,” says Gerry Whyburd, clinical educator. “It brings out the tremendous support that Albertans have been giving to one another.” Not just Alberta in general but also AHS in particular.

“In my opinion, it incorporates the magnificent job of cooperation and support that Alberta Health Services contributed to assisting the people in Fort McMurray,” he says.

The lyrics will help keep the spirits up of those who listen to it, Whyburd says. Even for him, the night before he’d heard that someone had been apprehended in connection to looting in Fort McMurray and he’d been feeling disappointed in humankind.

“It was good to hear Ken’s song the next day,” Whyburd says. “It was a breath of fresh air to be reminded of all the good things.”

Whyburd says they’re all proud of Garnett at the health centre. “He’s actually a very modest man but quite talented. I keep telling him he should quit his daytime job and sing but he won’t do that.”

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