Renewed hope for family after valley fundraiser
By Stephanie Stevens
May 28, at the Horsethief Pub and Eatery in Radium Hot Springs, Columbia Valley residents proved once again they stand behind their neighbours.
Vern and Candice Snively lost everything on April 9 this year when their Brisco home burned to the ground.
It didn’t take long for a group of valley residents to come together to plan a fundraiser and set up a GoFundMe account.
One of that early group, Maye Afonso Hollick, said she was blown away with the spirit in which everyone threw themselves in to the event.
“The original group was about five of us, but by the end there were a lot more,” she said, including Don and Susan Miller, Bill Cropper, Hollick herself, Tess Bekkering, Carly Mitchell, Roberta Hall, Warner Einer, Deanne Empey, Carol Dobson, Keirna Nittel, Sara Snively, Jill Parry, Rick and Judy Fowler, Bailey Mitchell, Dusty Dehart and Darlene McDonald, not to mention the musicians, emcee and the pub itself.
Cropper, who gave his time as emcee and auctioneer extraordinaire, said the committee for this event was a “wonderful group of people.
“We had a great party at Horsethief,” Cropper said. “The pub did a remarkable job of hosting us and I think we showed Vern and Candy how much they are loved in their community, not by the money but by the energy and enthusiasm of the event.”
Cropper and his Smarty Pants bandmates Brian Rogers and Kurt Reichel were joined by Deb Ede, Marty and Elijah Beingessner, Larry Newman, Scott Ivers, David Shaw, Dwayne Diakiw and Matt Shelson on stage, keeping the music and atmosphere lively and upbeat.
Between the live event, (which included a silent and live auction, prize balloon sales and a good old fashioned “pass the helmet”) and on-line donations, more than $59,000 was raised, including $2,500 from a raffle for a motorbike lift kit organized by a group of Vern’s fellow bike enthusiasts.
“The guys want to remain anonymous,” said Hollick. “I had asked them (about announcing their names) and they said they are fellow bikers that did it to help Vern and Candice, not for recognition. Along with the amount they raised with the raffle tickets, the original purchase price of $1800 was donated back from Harley Davidson of the Kootenays.”
“I also found out a company in Cranbrook is volunteering labour and materials when they are ready to put a roof on their new home,” said Hollick. “It’s crazy! The generosity of this valley has no limits.
“I really want to say a huge thank you to all my fellow volunteers from the very first meeting of only five of us, to a total of 18 volunteers that came forward to help in the last meetings. It was an amazing experience and wonderful to meet them all. And thank you to everyone that donated toward the fundraiser… you are all so wonderful!! Our valley may be small, but our hearts are huge.”
As for Vern and Candice, their hearts are filled with gratitude towards everyone who took part.
“To all of the dedicated volunteers, all of the generous people and businesses who donated and advertised for the fundraiser, the Horsethief Creek Pub and its tireless staff, the fantastic musicians… thank you,” they said. “Your generous support has given us renewed hope.”
Lead image: Volunteers gathered at the outset of the May 28 fundraiser at the Horsethief Pub and Eatery. Carrie Schafer/e-KNOW photo