Tuesday, November 26, 2013

4th Annual Angels Within Us an evening to remember

Angels Within Us board members with a donation cheque for $10,300.00
T. Lucas photos
Toni Lucas, Pincher Creek Voice

The fourth Annual Angels Within Us benefit was held at the Pincher Creek Community Hall on Saturday,  November 23, 2013.  Angels Within Us is a community foundation that helps families in crisis in town or in the MD of Pincher Creek. Approximately 260 people enjoyed a programme that included a steak dinner, desserts, speeches and presentations, a live and a silent auction, and live music by Chestermere Lake's Gypsy and the Rose.

Connie and Pat Hochstein danced the night away

The auctioneers were kept busy during the event

Tammy Kennedy was responsible for the beautiful hall decorations. Steaks were prepared by Stacey Stauffer and Bryan Mackenzie and the rest of the meal was put together by Simply Catering.  4-H Silver Reins Club volunteers cleared away the dinner, and behind the bar volunteers from the Oldtimers Hockey Association kept the evening flowing smoothly.

Angels Within Us President Sherry Mackenzie was effusive in her thanks to everyone involved with the evening, and its very evident success. She introduced her board members and was expansive in her praise of the board and the work they do to make it all happen. She thanked the donors and sponsors, volunteers, and the many people who purchased something at the event. She also acted as emcee, introducing her husband Bryan who made a generous donation, and representatives of two of the 7 families that have benefited from Angels Within Us in 2013, giving those families the chance to address directly the people in the community that helped them.

Bryan Mackenzie
Bryan Mackenzie (of Brylor Ranch) made a donation of the semen sales from one of his prize bulls, Mulberry. This unique gift not only will increase the quality of stock in three countries, it netted Angels a whopping $10,300.00.

"I firmly believe in this town and I have met a lot of people around the world that have heard about the Angels Within Us committee,"   said Bryan after the presentation.  "A lot of communities not only in southern Alberta but all of Alberta and the country has heard of this community. They would like to get something like it in their community but they don't know how. People in the committee put in an amazing, astronomical amount of time donated completely on their own free will to make this work and I do believe that is a very selfless thing to do. All the money stays in our community.  The people that donate stuff, the people that buy stuff here tonight with their hard earned dollars all come together."

"Truly the motto is, it's better to be on the giving end of it then the receiving end. Everyone needs a hand-up once in awhile, right? Not a hand-out but a hand-up," Mackenzie continued.  "It's wonderful that the people of Pincher Creek and the surrounding community is able to give them a hand-up and it's nice. It has been a nice night."

Kirk Weisshaar and Lachlan Rempel represented their daughter Ellie
Kirk Weisshaar and Lachlan Rempel represented their two and a half year old daughter Ellie. Angels Within Us helped Ellie by providing a Dynamic Movement Orthosis (DMO) suit this year. Ellie is currently at the development of a 3 month old and is affected by a rare condition called Chromosome 15q Duplication Syndrome (Dup15q micro duplication).  Some of the side effects of this disorder include poor muscle tone that affects a child's ability to move, talk, and even breath. Other delays include gross and fine motor control, speech, cognitive disability, sensory processing disorders, and autism spectrum disorders. Physical, occupational and speech therapy along with special education techniques can help children with this condition.  One of the secondary impacts for Ellie is scoliosis of the spine.

The DMO suit is designed to help “teach” the wearer to make certain movement or postures themselves by supporting the muscles and help by improving the sensory information to the brain. "We just want to tell you a little about Ellie and what Angels Within Us have done for us," said Rempel.  "We feel that it will give her a fighting chance, that is for sure. Now she can learn and grow to her full potential. We just want to thank Angels and everyone that has donated tonight as this has allowed Ellie to always continue to be the Ellie we know and love."

Constance Hillson
Constance Hillson took the stage with Elizabeth Dolman to explain how Angels Within Us changed her life by changing her address. She said that where she was previously living her children were bullied, and she was pressured to live a partying lifestyle that was not to her or her children's benefit. She saw no way of escaping people who would use her home as a place to drink and worse. Angels Within Us found her a safe location, and helped her move. She said her children can now go outside to play without everyone in the family feeling fear.  "Through Angels I have discovered a whole new life for me and my children," said Hillson. "I do really thank all of you for the support and the money funds. And just how everyone stuck together and gave me gave me the hope."

Pincher Creek Rodeo Queen Chelsea Stokke assisted during the auction
Pincher Creek Rodeo Queen Chelsea Stokke assisted auctioneers Frank Jenkins and Allan Lively from Southern Alberta Livestock .  Stokke helped by displaying the items up for bid to the crowd during the bidding process. People kept checking on the silent auction bids throughout the night, many of them excited to be putting the winning bid on one of the many items on display.

Frank Jenkins and Allan Lively
Frank Jenkins worked the microphone to announce for 21 different lots that were donated to the cause that ranged from vacations, dinners, beef packages, advertising packages, and various other goods and services. Some of the hot-ticket items included two WestJet round tickets to any where WestJet flies that went for $3,100.00, two prime rib dinners for 25 donated by Tony and Lorraine Bruder to be prepared at their campground that went for $3,000.00 each, and trips donated by Keith Foster of Castle Ford/Westcastle Motors that added up to a whopping $8,050.00 of the nights bids.

Sherry Mackenzie and Frank Jenkins keeping up the auction banter
After the dinner was done and tables were cleared away the four-piece band Gypsy and the Rose took to the stage. The core of the group is vocalist/keyboardist Candie and her husband guitarist Rene Schmidt. This husband and wife team that have been entertaining crowds for over 25 years. They were joined by David Bentley on guitar and Luke Breiteneder on drums. Their sets included music from the 1960's to the modern era and original music that was chosen to keep the energy high and the place hopping.

Gypsy and the Rose:
Luke Breiteneder, Candie Schmidt, Rene Schmidt, and David Bentley 
"We rely on this fund raiser and it's our only one," said Sherry Mackenzie.

"So far we haven't emptied the bank account at the end of the year at one of these events. So far we have always had money and have never had to say no to anyone because we have never had enough money, that is the idea behind these fund raisers. To keep building up the bank a little bit more and helping enough families as we can. I would say 75 - 80 people and companies have donated or donated to the silent auction. We had a very successful day and had just over 250 people in attendance and we should raise $50,000.00 this year which will be awesome."

4H Silver Reins volunteers

Girls just want to have fun

Mackenzie explained how to apply or volunteer with Angels Within Us. "It's as easy as writing in and telling us the story. It doesn't have to be your story, it could be your neighbor's, brother's or anybody. We need somebody speaking up for these families as some people don't want to say 'I need help'. Some people don't know how to help and this is a way you can help your neighbor, teacher or whoever."

"Sometimes it's just easier for a friend, neighbor or family member to write in for you."

"We always want new people because they have fresh ideas."

Angel Michelle Stuart

Tony and Lorraine Bruder on the dance floor

Bryan and Sherry Mackenzie celebrated the success of the evening with a kiss

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous26/11/13

    Job well done. Nice to know that there are wonderful opportunities to pay it forward.


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