Airsoft members

Burns Lake fundraiser surpasses expectations, raises over $9,000

More than 40 individuals and businesses donate to the silent auction

A fundraiser for a cause, held in Burns Lake, has managed to showcase the spirit of the community, and what it means to come together in times of need.

The Burns Lake Airsoft Association (BLAA) and Tweedsmuir Hotel held a fundraiser on April 23 for the family of Crystal Parlee, a local care aide at The Pines Care Home, after she passed away on Mar. 26 from glioblastoma, an aggressive brain cancer.

The organizers had hoped to raise anywhere between $8,000 to $10,000 but didn’t think they would be actually able to meet these expectations.

The fundraiser ended up raising $9,105 for the family.

The Burns Lake community completely surprised the organizers, and reaffirmed their faith in the community, said BLAA board member Devvon Barnhart.

“The community put their money where their mouths were. We got way more than we bargained for. It was a huge success; a blowout of a turnout. Silent auction itself raised thousands and thousands of dollars; people were able to also donate at the bar. Amazing efforts all around,” he said.

The event began with an all-day airsoft game event, giving people a chance to try out airsoft at the BLAA airsoft field, located at the end of Wallace Road, on Highland Drive.

The game day saw over 20 people of all ages at the field enjoying the games. There were also hot dogs, provided by Wholesale Foods, and cooked by Aaron Derksen from the Bruins Den.

The games were followed by a dinner for which 75 people showed up. There was also a silent auction for which 40 businesses and individuals donated, and there was dance with live music at the Tweedsmuir Hotel, with tickets going for a cost of $50.

Blenda Bueckert, manager of the Tweedsmuir Hotel, was also thrilled with the response.

“It was a full house. I didn’t expect it to be so busy, but it was totally full,” she said. “I think it is the best thing we could’ve done.”

Bueckert added that the food turned out perfect, and everyone loved it. She said that the music, by the band Live Bait was also great.

“The auction also went well; there were a couple of bidding wars,” she said.

Barnhart told Lakes District News that he was also expecting another sponsor to donate before the organizers end up giving the funds to the family.

“We hope to have the family taken care of really quickly; this has been a huge success for the community. It just showed that the community here will be there for someone in need, for whom something tragic happened. It goes to show that the community will stand by in support no matter whether you are a long-term or short-term resident living here,” he said.

“Our primary focus is making sure that the family knows they will be taken care of by the community, that there are no strings attached in anything we have done.”

The BLAA is gearing up next to hold their own event to raise money for awareness of the club.

“We look forward to helping out the community in more aspects and ways and we look forward to being supportive and being supported,” said Barnhart.

Fundraiser event for family of Crystal Parlee in Burns Lake

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The band for the fundraiser evening