CHESTERMERE – There were a lot wieners served to WINNERS last Thursday at John Peake Park in Chestermere. The wieners were from M&M Meats (about 125 of them) and the WINNERS were in full force and too numerous to mention them all (and some of them were you reading this article). Yes there was a public rally at noon hosted by UFA which sponsored the UFA Top 10 Small Town Heroes Tour. Chestermere is the 3rd stop on the first year of the UFA Tour where they are honouring those special people whose heroic efforts have made a real difference to their community. To date, they’ve awarded four grand prize winners, sixteen runners up and given away almost $30,000 worth of prize money to benefit local communities.
By now the name Alex Halat should be well known not only for his contribution to The World’s Longest Hockey Game held right here in Chestermere, and not only for raising money to the tune of $1.7 Million for the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation but also for breaking the record for the World’s Longest Hockey Game. The public rally event was held because Alex was nominated as a Small Town Hero thanks to Ian Matthews. Alex is very modest and says he is quite embarrassed by all of the attention and is still a little uncomfortable doing interviews even though he has done several lately. Some of Alex’s Oilympics Hockey Team members were also in attendance at the rally and had mentioned that they are just getting the feeling back in their toes and feet after the hockey marathon but are prepared to do it all again in a couple of years. Alex said “It would suck to break your own record so I hope someone else does, but if we have to we will”. Alex and his other committee members have been raising funds for various charities for about 20 years and to date have collected somewhere in the range of $2.4 Million.
The event was kicked off by the wondrous sounds from Minerva, (Leela Aheer and Lauren Ireland), emceed by Ian Matthews and a speech by Mayor Patricia Matthews. Should Alex win one of the 2 grand prizes, he is going to share the money with Kevin Papke. Both heroes would share $10,000. Alex said the charity of his choice would be Christmas with Dignity, which helps underprivileged families with the necessities of life, and Kevin is raising funds for Bethany Care Foundation. The other part of the BIG prize is a Paul Brandt concert in each of the small towns. Now wouldn’t that be a treat!!
We can’t forget to mention the other money that was raised during the BBQ event. Twenty eight people donated $10.00 to be entered into the draw for the printer/scanner/fax machine donated by Ian. Between the hot dog sale and printer draw brought in about $615 for the Alberta Children’s Hospital, which is pretty amazing for 90 minutes. The printer winner was drawn by Leela and the winner notified by Mayor Matthews. Fortunately the winner was still on the grounds and she collected the printer immediately.
“Chestermere stepped up AGAIN! We live in a great little Town and its people like you that make it so” said Ian. “Thank YOU!”
Amanda Bates, Director, Communications and Brand Strategy at UFA Co-operative Limited, said “It’s been amazing watching all of the presentations and reading the stories of all of the Small Town Heroes, I’ve gone through a lot of tissues because some of the stories are so touching.”
Community engagement in each home town will play an important part in the selection of the winners; the contest doesn’t finish until August 31st so don’t forget to vote for Alex daily at http://www.ufa.com/smalltownheroes/index.html