PONOKA – Yes Ponoka, a small town 20 minutes north of Red Deer was lucky enough to host the first of the UFA Small Town Hero Paul Brandt concerts. The Ponoka concert was an add on to the other two concerts Paul Brandt and his band are playing for the 2012 UFA Small Town Heroes Grand Prize winners. The Grand Prize concerts will take place in Teepee Creek for Mack Erno and Smoky Lake for Ed Boychuk. In addition, Erno and Boychuk will each receive $10,000 for their community. Congratulations to them both.
The Small Town Heroes was created to recognize those unsung heroes living in rural Alberta who go above and beyond to make a difference in their communities. UFA wanted to find a way to tell the heartfelt stories of volunteerism, kindness, passion, inner strength, a positive attitude and a drive for the cause.
The Ponoka concert was added in recognition of the 8 finalists who were lucky enough to take part in a meet and greet with Brandt, the other finalists and their friends and families.
Besides being recognized as heroes in their communities, the eight runners-up have each won $2,500 and an equal share of the Appreciation Concert proceeds towards a cause of their choice.
These are the 8 finalists:
Alex Halat from Chestermere
Angela Henley from Falher & the Smoky River Region
Nick Ruigrok from Okotoks
Abe Crawford from Olds
Nathan Hardy from Devon
Erin Steeves from Rimbey
Mandeja Sargent from Alix
Marilyn Wolfe from Champion
Speaking of the finalists, Paul Brandt said “These are people who don’t consider themselves as heroes, they just get involved and love helping out their community”. He added “They are usually humble behind the scenes kind of people and it’s really hard to get them up on stage to accept the award”. Brandt hadn’t met any of the finalists before the concert and was really looking forward to saying thank you to them for giving back and helping out selflessly in their communities. He went on to say “It’s the same spirit when our troops put their lives on the line or the same spirit a mother and father have when they’re taking care of their children; these people love their communities and believe in what a community stands for and they want to help”.
Brandt just released a new album “Just As I Am” and was planning on playing at least one of the songs from it. As well as he said he couldn’t make through a night without playing Alberta Bound, Convoy, stuff that the people have come to know and love. Paul Brandt is the most awarded male Canadian Country Music artist in history. Yes you can follow Paul Brandt and UFA at www.ufa.com – as well, follow them on Facebook: facebook.com/UFASmallTownHeroes and on Twitter @UFACooperative