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Communities help each other dig out of the snow in Cape Breton


After so much snow hit Cape Breton and parts of Nova Scotia, the community is working together to clean up and provide a helping hand.

Many streets wish for that one person who is always willing to help out, and for residents on MacGuire Drive in Sydney, N.S., that person is Darrell Walters.

"Shovelling and blowing, bringing the odd meal – whatever I can,” Walters said when CTV Atlantic stopped by his home on MacGuire Drive in Sydney on Friday.

With parts of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality seeing a total of 200 cm of snow after two major snowstorms, having a neighbour that helps has proven to be invaluable. Just ask 86-year-old Malcolm MacNeil, who lives next door.

"If it wasn't for my neighbour, I'd be lost. I have a good neighbour,” MacNeil said.

When CTV Atlantic arrived on Friday, Walters was hauling out his snow blower to clear someone else's driveway.

"People got to get out, right?” Walters said. “And they don't all have help. Their families are away working, and stuff. I'm available, so I do what I can."

Another helper of note is Trevor Russell.

Russell is a pharmacy owner in North Sydney and Sydney Mines who slept in one of his shops during the worst of the weather.

He admits he slept well knowing he was there to help.

"I ended up staying in the pharmacy to service the community for three or four days,” Russell said. "(Customers) could be anxious that they're not going to receive a dose of medication, or wondering what if they go without - so if we can help with that, it's a great experience."

Humanitarian organizations have come to the community to lend a hand, too.

Members of Team Rubicon, a veteran-led organization from outside the Maritimes, learned quickly about how people here tend to look out for one another.

"It's awesome to see. This is a great, neighbourly area,” said strike team leader Al McNabb.

Meanwhile, Walters has been so busy helping others that he hasn't dug out a vehicle of his own.

"It's a lot of work,” Walters said. “Two weeks non-stop. Now, I'm thinking about getting my own truck out that's been there for two weeks."

While he might get to that soon, Walters said he plans to continue to keep tabs on MacNeil next-door.

"I see it keep him happy and healthy, and the nurses can get in and look after him,” Walters said. “His son is away worried about him, his son contacts me almost every day."

In the end, there were plenty of helping hands to be found during a time that has been a test for everyone.

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