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Posted 29 Sep 2001   For week ended September 28, 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 26Sep01

By 'Editor, LDSCaNews'

Maritime Branch Billets Air Passengers

ST. JOHN'S, NEWFOUNDLAND, CANADA -- When word spread among citizens of Newfoundland's capital on 11 September 2001 that planes full of passengers would be landing at their airport, many citizens rushed to help.

Little did Marie Routhier know that after putting her name on a billet list she would be helping out the St. John's Branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. But when she phoned her friend Ryan, a member of the Church, and his mum invited her to come help, she reluctantly accepted.

Members of the branch had already turned the chapel pews into beds for the 200 people they were expecting from flights bound for New York and Montreal. Armed with people, bedding and food, the branch was finally ready when their guests walked in the door at 4:00 in the morning.

Routhier told of the many Tim Hortons and McDonalds runs she made during the six days the passengers were staying at the chapel.

"I learned a lot about and the human condition while volunteering this week. I only slept about 10 hours total over the course of the six days, but it was like running on auto-pilot. For me, it wasn't necessarily a case of it being the right thing to do, it was the ONLY thing to do...and I think I've grown as a person through it."

Even though Roger's Cable donated cable service to the chapel so people could keep up with the news, it didn't convince them to stay inside very long. Many of the people stranded in The Rock may never have thought to stop here on their own, and they were going to take a look around.

Many friendships were forged through sitting with each other at the chapel, touring the beautiful city and passing the time. As a result, a reunion is being planned for a couple of years from now.

"I made so many friends, met some really great people, and ended up having a rocking good time. Instead of being glad to get rid of em in the end, we were all sad, and there were people crying everywhere!"

Marie Routhier's website


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