Thursday, 05 January 2012 09:52

Spring Point Community Society reaches out to Slave Lake

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By Susan Quinlan
Southwest Alberta
For those living in the rural area surrounding Granum, fires that engulfed Slave Lake earlier this year brought back nightmares of the devastating grass fires they dealt with in 1997.
However, the fires also reminded members of the Spring Point Community Society about the generosity of others, so they decided to pay it forward.

“We got so much hay from the north, so that’s why we wanted to help and we’re rural people and we wanted to help rural people,” said Pat Ness, president of the Spring Point Community Society.

The society settled on providing residents of the 50 homes lost in the M.D. of Lesser Slave River with money orders to help with whatever expenses they chose.

“Fifty homes burned in the M.D., so we’re going to split the donations we receive 50 ways.”

Although the society had hoped to raise enough to give each of the families a $50 money order, those expectations were far exceeded with the final purse topping $6,000.

Ness said she couldn’t be more grateful to all those who donated from all over Alberta, and to those who as well added to the purse so generously during the final Christmas party collections in the region.

Ness said the funds were sent to the Slave Lake Post Office.

“I made arrangements with a United Church minister and she’s going to take out the 50 Christmas cards and the post office staff will put them in the boxes, so they should get them in time for Christmas.

“We’re doing this because we remember how much we received. The first thing we were given was hay because all our hay and grass burned. We lost 200 head of cattle in the district, so there were still a lot to contain.”

That meant the need for fencing, which the Mennonites took on.

“The Mennonite Society came and put fence posts in for days. They gave each rancher a day until they were all done, then they came around again. They camped near Granum and we only had to supply their lunch. Mennonites from all over North America came.

“We all received so much help right away, not just right after, but for long after.”

News about the goodwill Christmas gesture of the Spring Point Community Society has quickly travelled north, said Ness.

CAO Allan Winarski, M.D. of Lesser Slave River, was deeply moved.

“To see what these people have done to support those affected by the summer’s wildfires in the Municipal District of Lesser Slave River No. 124 is very touching, especially as these people have lived through a similar experience a few years back. Rural Alberta people helping rural Alberta people out. Very powerful.”

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