30x185 spacer

Donations continue rolling in for Angels Within Us wildfire relief fund

Saturday, 23 December 2017. Posted in Shootin' the Breeze

Donations continue rolling in for Angels Within Us wildfire relief fund
Angels Within Us board members are, from left, Sherry Mackenzie, Kevin Parkin, Carrah Walter, Colleen Parkin, Michelle Duncan, Jamie Anderson, Cheryl Friesen, Suzanne Kirby and Mona Low. Missing is Judy Lane. Their fundraising efforts this year will support those affected by the Kenow wildfire.

Donations continue rolling in for Angels Within Us wildfire relief fund

By Caitlin Clow

The Kenow wildfire tore through Waterton Lakes National Park and into the municipal district on Sept. 11, changing lives and scarring the landscape forever. But, following in Mother Nature’s healing footsteps, a community rallied behind friends and neighbours to help clean up and begin to rebuild.

Angels Within Us, too, set their sights on the cause and steered their annual fundraising gala to assist those who were affected by the Kenow fire.

The gala served close to 650 people on Nov. 18 at Pincher Creek Community Hall — the biggest turnout the foundation has seen in the eight years of the event.

Angels president Sherry Mackenize announced that about $180,000 was raised that evening, exceeding their goal of $150,000 and their $50,000 average from previous events.

And the money keeps rolling in, Sherry says, noting they may have to push their donations deadline to the new year.

An additional $48,000 was raised through the sold-out Corb Lund concert hosted by the Twin Butte Community Society. Those funds will be combined with the Angels’ before being distributed to those affected by the blaze.

“Pretty sure we have everyone covered,” Sherry says, noting that about 22 individuals or families will be on the receiving end of these generous donations.

“It’s a big process,” Sherry says. “And we need a lot of advice.”

"We’re trying to get something out to everybody and make sure that the most important things are covered initially,” she explains. “Then, maybe, some of those additional things that insurance didn’t cover.”

Sherry says the Angels board found they were not qualified to determine how the funds should be divided, so the organization is seeking outside counsel from lawyers, accountants, insurance companies and those who have experienced fire loss before.

“It’s a big responsibility and we’re taking it seriously,” she says.

Questionnaires have been sent out to the victims of the Kenow fire, seeking information regarding insurance coverage and losses.

“Some people had friends that set up GoFundMe pages and we asked if they had any money coming in,” Sherry explains. “We are just trying to cover our bases. We feel this huge weight to make sure this is done correctly.”

The gala’s incredible success is due to the outpouring of support from Pincher Creek and surrounding area. Sherry says musical guest, and old college friend, Reese Klaiber of Medicine Hat was astounded by the support from such a small community.

“People from out of town were in awe,” Sherry says. “Hopefully we don’t take it for granted. We do live in a place that is so incredible, where the people would do anything for their neighbour.”