Russel Painting-003 e

This portrait of Regional Fire Chief Darby Allen represents the courage and heart of hundreds of men and women who took care of over 80,000 citizens of Fort McMurray and Wood Buffalo during the wildfire of 2016. Commemorative prints are being made available as a way of raising money for the recovery effort, specifically the rebuilding of the social infrastructure that is going to be required to provide human care in the weeks and months after we return to our community. All money will go directly to The United Way of Fort McMurray with charitable tax receipts issued.

Funds donated will go to helping agencies in Fort McMurray and Wood Buffalo who help children, youth, adults, seniors and families thanks to the generosity of a number of different companies who have stepped up to help including our generous partner, Run Digital Inc. in Calgary. They have also kindly provided office space for Russell Thomas (the artist) to use during the evacuation period.

Once your donation has been received by The United Way of Fort McMurray, we will do our best to get your print to you as soon as possible. Please expect a wait of a number of weeks as our staff are working remotely in evacuation locations across Canada. Prints at the $1,000+ donation level will be sent after the special signing ceremony.

An email will be sent to EVERY person or company who donates at these levels to confirm that they would like to receive a commemorative print of the painting of Chief Darby Allen.

$100 – $249 Donation

8″ x 10” commemorative print, signed by the artist

$250 – $999 Donation

16” x 20” commemorative print, signed by the artist

$1,000+ Donation

16” x 20” commemorative print, signed by the artist, Chief Darby Allen, and as many members of the crisis team that we can muster at a special signing ceremony after the fire has been extinguished, the re-entry process has been completed and our community has begun to recover.


All donations can be made online at



The Artist

Russell Thomas is the Director of Communications and Community Impact for The United Way of Fort McMurray.  He is also a wild colour portrait artist who has used his artistic passion to help raise funds for multiple charities including Northern Lights Regional Health Foundation, Alzheimer Society of Northern Alberta and Northwest Territories, Centre of Hope, HALOS, Some Other Solutions, and many more.  He has called Fort McMurray home since 1996.

His work can be seen at or at


We are taking a partnership approach to this initiative.  We want to minimize the cost of making these prints available to support of this unparalleled effort.  As companies come on board to provide in-kind support, we will acknowledge them here.  If you want to help with printing, shipping or in covering some of the costs, contact Russell Thomas at We will be grateful to accept your support.

Run-Logo (1) copy