In this year of the pandemic, Teejay Alderdice and his family have recently had to endure much more than the threat of coronavirus, but still manages to maintain a positive attitude towards a life-changing incident that could have had much more serious consequences a month before the holidays.
The general manager of the Port Carling Golf and Country Club in Port Carling, Ont., and president of the PGA of Canada, his wife Jenna and children Piper, 6, and Jax, 9, were asleep at their home in nearby Bracebridge early on Saturday morning a week and a half ago.
At 4 a.m., there was a banging on the door. It was a man telling Alderdice about a house on fire. Still half asleep, Alderdice asked whose house was on fire and he was informed it was the his house in flames.
The man was a firefighter in nearby Gravenhurst who knew the urgency of the situation and what to do. He was calm, but assertive, and asked how many people were in the house.
“We really were fortunate to get out,” said Alderdice.
When they did get out, it was the top portion on fire, but the entire house was a complete loss. The initial investigation indicate the fire began in the attic, likely in the wiring, and the lower smoke alarms hadn’t gone off when the knock came on the door.
The Alderdices have been staying with friends and expect the insurance will cover the cost of a rental, but their new home likely won’t be ready for 12 to 18 months.
Alderdice has the PGA of Canada Member Assistance Program available to him. It offers members and eligible immediate family free professional and confidential counselling, coaching and consulting services.
“Ideally, I won’t have to use it, but it’s just reassuring to know that it is there if you need it,” he said, explaining the trauma that follows such an incident.
“You smell smoke differently. You hear sounds differently. For the last week, it’s like we’re on high alert. I don’t know what it is, but you smell anything funny and your brain starts to think the worst,” said Alderdice,
Piper and Jax have been seeing school officials as they come to terms with a sudden lack of home and familiarity and Jenna, a nurse, has been given time off as the family copes.
There’s a long road ahead, but you’d never know it. First of all, his family is safe, for which he’ll always be grateful, but Alderdice is also amazed at the kindness shown his clan, beginning with the man who got them out and the friends who took them in.
It doesn’t end there. Alderdice says the list of service clubs and people in the community and in the golf industry who are owed thank you cards is growing longer in just a week and a half.
“That’s been one of the most emotional parts is to see how much people care about you and your family and getting you back on your feet,” he said.
“It’s not just financial help. It’s helping in every way. People drop off hot meals, so we’re not having to worry about cooking. Whether it’s clothing, or saying, `Hey, when you get into your rental, I’ve got a coffee table,’ all these things are going to help us along the way,” said Alderdice.
“Locally, you’re in a small town. You do it because you think it’s a great place to raise kids and it’s a nice community, everybody knows everybody. You really get to see it when you need help. The community rallies around you,” he said.
The same goes for the golf industry as sales reps and companies have sent products to help the Alderdice family and others have sent messages of support.
“I’ve got my golf world and my golf family which has been especially compassionate,” he said.
With a little help from their friends, the Alderdice family will successfully navigate the long road ahead, fuelled by a positive attitude that is a fine example for all of us right now.