Maugerville man prime example of resilient spirit during devastating flood

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Source: CBC News

From rescuing livestock to delivering supplies, Moxon has proven to be the ultimate neighbour

For about two weeks severe flooding has wreaked havoc throughout New Brunswick, and for about two weeks New Brunswickers have shown resilience, compassion and patience in the face of an unprecedented disaster.

Jason Moxon is a prime example.

From rescuing livestock to delivering supplies, Moxon has proven to be the ultimate neighbour for Maugerville during a time of crisis. On Wednesday, he welcomed CBC News aboard his canoe.

Moxon has put some considerable mileage on the vessel since the St. John River swelled beyond its banks. While cruising past familiar landmarks, he described the visible difference between this year and 2008.

“After ’08, people raised [their homes] by a couple of feet, but it’s still not enough,” he said.

‘Right up to its butt’

Though not the worst flood in New Brunswick history, the 2008 flood has a lasting impact on residents. It peaked at 6.92 metres in Maugerville, almost a metre above flood stage, but this year the river level nearly matched the all-time high of 7.11 metres.

“Right up to its butt,” Moxon remarked while passing Harvey’s Big Potato, one of the more recognizable Maugerville landmarks.

Moxon is quite familiar with another: Moxon’s Country Pumpkin. His parents and sister run the renowned farmers’ market and petting zoo along the Maugerville highway.

The animals found refuge from surrounding floodwaters on the Moxons’ deck and the tomatoes and peppers were moved out of the greenhouse because the “boards were floating.”

The market’s structure remains sound, Moxon said, but there will be damage to its exterior and fencing, not to mention the impact on cropland.

Cattle rescue

Moxon is working in the woods and said he was just “on call” to help out. That’s turned into long days from 5 a.m. to midnight, though he preferred not to talk about that. He said everyone along this stretch works hard, but his neighbour offered a bit of insight.

Former dairy farmer Arnold Scheers said Moxon has been bringing along items to neighbours marooned by the water.

“There’s been neighbours checking on other neighbours,” Scheers said, “and Jason has been going around every day feeding the small animals at different places, plus there’s still eight more cattle at the Perley Farm. He goes every night to feed them.”

Earlier during the flood, there were 46 head of cattle standing in four feet of rising water at Jack Perley’s barn, and Scheers said Moxon was crucial in evacuating the barn.

“If it probably wasn’t for him, they’d still be there. It was a dangerous job,” he said.

Moxon said: “We’ve known them all my life and he needed help, so we were there.”

On the journey back to dry land, an exhausted Moxon admitted he, like many others, is ready for the water to go down.


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