There was a span of time after the flooding began on June 20 when Aaron Macklin had no idea where his grandmother was.
The 18-year-old Kamloops Blazers forward was back in his hometown of High River, Alta. when the Highwood River flooded its banks. It was a devastating moment for both the community and Macklin, but before he could worry about the other 13,000 people in the town, he had to find out if his grandma was safe.
"It was pretty devastating, we couldn't find her," Macklin said. "We heard that they took some of (the seniors in the building) to a couple schools just outside of the town, but we could only get to one because the highway was closed to the other . . . it turned out my aunty found her before I could. It was pretty emotional when I heard that she was OK."
Most of Macklin's family, along with the friends he's had since childhood, live in the town just 37 kilometres south of Calgary. He had plenty to worry about that day and now, three months later, he still wishes he could have done more.
"I think everyone's pretty much accepted the fact that it's happened," he said. "It is getting back to normal but it will take years for it to all be back to where it was before the flood."
Macklin said Monday that his grandma had just moved back into her house on Sunday, almost three months to the day after she floated out of the entrance of the building on a tube towards a rescue boat; she had been living with his parents ever since. His family was relatively lucky that June day - his grandma was the only one forced out of her home by the flooding.
His parents, who live just outside of town on an acreage, turned their home into a haven for High River residents whose homes were uninhabitable. Macklin said there were three families still camping in his yard on the weekend.
"We were not in the house at all actually, we were all helping everyone as much as we could," Macklin said, referring to the day of the flood. "My dad works for a farming sales company there, so they took all the combines and drove them in the water because no other vehicles or boats could get in there. They'd just go to people's roofs and haul them in the hopper, load as many people on as they could and drive them out.
"We didn't know what he was doing or where he was, but he was helping people."
Macklin spent his summer helping to repair homes and clean up after the disaster, shoveling out basements and ripping out drywall. He did about 30 houses in two months, working 15-hour days filled with manual labour. He came back to Kamloops in the middle of August to start getting ready for his second season with the Blazers.
"I would have liked to have stayed a bit more and waited until I could have helped my grandma out and helped some of my friends - all their houses got flooded too so I would have liked to have been able to help them - but they weren't into their homes yet before I left," he said. "I still had work to do but I had to come back."
His family has begun the process of helping his grandma rebuild. Although the water didn't actually reach her suite on the top floor, she's still dealing with sewage backups and the mud that was traipsed in by firefighters. She also has to replace her refrigerator, which was filled with rotten food when she returned.
But the most important thing is she stayed safe - the damage to her home can be repaired and appliances can be replaced. Life in High River for the Macklins is slowly getting back to normal and a community that Aaron says was already tight-knit is now even more so.
"Everyone pretty much knows each other in High River, we're all pretty close," he said. "It brought the community together really well."