Acuren Nuclear Services and SNC Lavalin hosted, what has become an annual event, a fundraiser for the Women’s Centre Grey and Bruce (Owen Sound) and the Kabaeshiwim Respite Women’s Shelter at Saugeen First Nation.
The event was hosted at the Highview Food & Drink in Southampton on Thursday, January 24th, 2019.
The fundraiser was a fun evening of social and business networking with speeches by Mike Rencheck, President and CEO Bruce Power and Luke Charbonneau, Mayor of Saugeen Shores. In addition, there were many representatives from various companies that are participating in the Bruce Power Life Extension Program and local business people.
Mike Rencheck of Bruce Power said that he was pleased to see the many supplier companies that had come out for the fundraiser.
Mayor Luke Charbonneau said it takes leadership to eradicate violence. “If we see or know of a friend, relative or neighbour being abused, we have to say ‘I cannot accept this and it must stop’.” Charbonneau added that events such as the fundraiser fills him with hope and optimism. “We have to thank the Women’s shelter volunteers and all those people who work every day on the ground.”
It was a night that celebrated community empowerment through support of the Women’s facilities that offer hope and refuge to local families in crisis.
Guest speaker, Geoffrey Freeman, told his poignant story of growing up in a troubled household where parental ‘fighting’ was the norm until his mother took the children and left, finding refuge in a women’s shelter in Toronto, ‘The Storefront’.
“Parents often don’t realize that children know when things are not right. My sister who was 13 would hear our parents fighting and would bring me and our siblings into a room and keep us there until it was over. It is a very difficult decision to say “enough is enough, I can’t deal with this anymore”. Freeman’s mother, Denise, who was a nurse, made the decision. The shelter helped us to move on and I don’t know where I would be today without it. It was a struggle and a challenge for our mother with three children but without that one chance, I don’t know where we would be.”
Today, Freeman and his wife, Lisa, live in Ottawa where he works as a stone mason. He is an animal lover with Oliver, his Golden Retriever and Stella and Charlotte, their rescue cats.
With a Silent Auction and live auction of Maple Leaf hockey tickets donated by Bruce Power, the evening raised some $17,000 with the monies to be divided equally between the two women’s facilities.
In addition, Bruce Power suppliers, TretraTech and Promation Nuclear, stepped forward to announce that they would again be supporting the Saugeen Memorial Hospital Gran Fondo fundraising cycling event in August.
Owen Sound Women’s Centre Executive Director, Heather Fowler, says that she appreciates the support of the community for on-the-ground support for women who are trying to escape domestic violence and for the education and counseling that they need.