Golf tournament hosted by first responders raises thousands for local charities

The proceeds from the annual Emergency Responders golf tournament went to KidSport and the River Valley Resilience Retreat in 2019. (Peter Lozinski/Daily Herald)

A pair of local not-for-profits were blown away Thursday by the donations they received from the city’s first responders.

Firefighters and paramedics gathered outside the Parkland Ambulance office on 24th Street West to present a pair of $4,200 cheques to KidSport Prince Albert and the

River Valley Resilience Retreat. The funds were raised through the second annual Emergency Services Partners Fundraiser Golf Tournament.

“We’re really happy … to be able to raise something for them,” said Chris Pacey, a paramedic and one of the three members of the organizing committee.

“They’re hugely appreciative of what we could raise.”

Pacey thanked the event’s sponsors for helping to make it a success.

Dwight Bergstrom was on hand to accept the donation on behalf of KidSport.

“The contribution was an amazing $4,200. To Kidsport, that’s a large amount,” he said.

“If it wasn’t for organizations like the Prince Albert firefighters and Parkland Ambulance partnering with us and doing fundraisers on our behalf …. We would never come close to raising the over $100,000 per year we need.”

Chris Pacey (right) presented the Emergency Services Partners golf Tournament donation to KidSport’s Dwight Bergstrom on Sept. 19, 2019. (Peter Lozinski/Daily Herald)

KidSport funds up to $500 per child in sport registration fees. On average, they fund about $240 per child.

Last year, KidSport helped out about 350 kids and provided about $108,000 in fees.

“That doesn’t include the kids we couldn’t fund, because we run out of money fro time to time,” Bergstrom said.

Thursday’s donation will help enrol about 20 kids into sports.

“It’s sports helping sports,” Bergstrom said.

“Everybody that came out had a really fun time and it gave me a chance to speak a little bit and spread the word. I’m hoping we’ve recruited a few more community members … service clubs and businesses to get on the bandwagon and give us a hand. That’s the only way we can get it done.”

Pacey also spoke about the importance of helping out Kidsport.

“We have so many challenged youths in the city where money is tight, and we know that kids really do benefit (from sports)” he said.

The donation for the River Valley Resilience Retreat was accepted by Michelle McKeaveney.

She is part of a group of people, which also includes firefighter Jeff Reeder, looking to construct a facility for first responders where they can go to heal before they develop an occupational stress injury.

Both McKeaveney, a former correctional officer, and Reeder have gone on their own journeys recovering from operational stress injuries and assisting other first responders also struggling with on-the-job stress injuries.

The team planning the River Valley Resilience Retreat has secured land and is in the process of submitting blueprints and engineering documents to the RM of Duck Lake for approval.

Michelle McKeaveney, right, accepts a cheque for the River Valley Resilience Retreat from Firefighter Dave McAuley on Sept. 19, 2019. (Peter Lozinski/Daily Herald)

The funds donated Thursday, McKeaveney said, will go a long way.

The donation “is absolutely incredible,” she said.

“That’s absolutely going to help us in the development and building stages. We’ve got a long way to go, but this is a good start to helping us get there faster. It’s awesome.”

Pacey spoke of the importance of supporting the retreat for other first responders.

“This is (about) giving back to the first responders of the community and the surrounding area,” he said.

“If we can help everybody, it’s awesome.”

Pacey said the tournament’s planning committee is hoping to continue hosting the annual event.

‘The second year was successful,” he said. “We’re going for a third.”

For more information on KidSport, visit http://www.kidsportcanada.ca/saskatchewan/prince-albert/. For information on the River Valley Resilience Retreat, visit their Facebook page.

For more on the River Valley Resilience Retreat, please see a future edition of the Daily Herald.