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Fundraiser in Oxbow exceeds $94,000 for fire truck, ambulance

Quick Dick McDick and John Gormley were the entertainment for the evening.

OXBOW - The people of the Oxbow area once again showed how much they want to have a new ambulance and fire truck in the community.

A sold-out crowd of roughly 500 people packed the Oxbow Rink on June 15 for a fundraising supper and auction to help pay for the much-needed emergency response vehicles. The event brought in $94,300, according Pamela Bartlett, the administrator with the RM of Enniskillen, which put on the benefit. Half of the money went to the purchase of the fire truck and the other half will go to the ambulance.

"I honestly have hardly any words, because I am just amazed at the generosity of the community and the attendance, and everybody just thought it was a wonderful night. The guest speakers were amazing, the supper was amazing, the decorating was amazing. The whole night couldn't have been better," Bartlett said in an interview with the Observer and SaskToday.

A smoked turkey and smoked brisket supper was served by Weir's Catering from Manor. A live auction had more than 40 items, and the Mack Auction Company donated their services.

The top-selling item was a 4-H black Angus steer that Anova Resources purchased at an auction. Then they donated the steer, along with the cut and wrap, all of which sold for $5,600. The next-biggest item was followed by a one-ounce gold bar and glasses from the Royal Canadian Mint that fetched $3,500.

Other highlights included a signed baseball from the Toronto Blue Jays, a signed football by the Saskatchewan Roughriders, a couple of autographed jerseys, a signed Winnipeg Jets picture, and two tickets to the Labour Day Classic football game between the Roughriders and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

A silent auction, a Chinese auction and a 50-50 also helped raise funds.

Entertainment came from Saskatchewan YouTube personality Quick Dick McDick and political commentator/retired broadcaster John Gormley, who entertained the crowd with stories, banter and a question-and-answer session with the audience. McDick also sang during the night and helped out during the live auction.

"Everybody thoroughly enjoyed the speaking. They did one half of their show, and then they played off of each other. Then we stopped for an intermission, where we auctioned off three of our hot-ticket items, and then they went and finished off the night with another speaking engagement," said Bartlett. 

Thanks to the money that was raised, the ambulance is now nearly paid for. Bartlett believes there is less than $5,000 left to raise for the vehicle, which had a $314,000 cost. The new ambulance has been in service since December 2023.

The ambulance was badly needed, she said, as the old unit needed a lot of repair and was often out of service.

"It had seen its better days, and then it ended up being in an accident … at the very end in which somebody hit it, and so they were just using the spare, and that wasn't ideal whatsoever. This one has just made their life so much better."

Bartlett noted a post from a paramedic from last year, who said they were so grateful to have the vehicle, and the level of care they can provide is "unbelievable". The paramedic went on to thank everyone who made it happen.

The fire truck is close to two-thirds paid for. The projected cost is $475,000. A wildland firefighting unit, Bartlett said it will be a real asset due to the valleys in the area.

"When the fire happened in the valley a couple of years ago, the wildland truck that we currently have was used so much because it can go places where pumper trucks can't go, and it decreases the manpower use compared to what a pumper truck needs. With a volunteer … fire department, then at least if they're lacking manpower, they have the capability of using a wildland truck with less manpower, so that's a huge asset of having the wildland truck."

This new truck will add to the department's fleet because a couple of other trucks will have to retire due to safety regulations.  

Bartlett said they are planning to order the new truck right away. They wanted to see how the fundraiser did before they submitted their request. It will take time for the new truck to arrive. She noted that when the new ambulance was ordered, it was supposed to take 12-18 months.

"I think it was … nearly 24 months when we finally got it. It was a very long wait," Bartlett said.

Bartlett noted the estate of Nellie Adams provided a large donation for the new truck. Adams, who lived north of Glen Ewen, has made significant contributions to organizations throughout the community. 

Barlett thanked everybody for their generosity, which she said has been "so life changing for so many people.

"When you're dealing with emergency services, it touches a lot of people lives, and we have just seen the generosity hand over hand in the community."

One other fundraiser for the fire truck is in the works. The Oxbow and Enniskillen Fire & Rescue Department is hosting a duck derby on July 1 at the Oxbow Bow Valley Park. Tickets are $10 each or three for $25, and can be purchased through e-transfer at [email protected].