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A Valentine’s Day toast to ‘The Right Place to Be'

Column by Elk Point Review writer Vicki Brooker

When I think back at the communities where we have lived and the communities we considered moving to before we came to this area, I feel so extremely fortunate to have chosen the Elk Point area as our home. Our community really is “The Right Place to Be."

On Wednesday night, I was at the grand opening of the newly refurbished Elk Point Curling Club, and as we stood there listening to Tyler Warawa list all the contributions, from cash donations to sand, use of machinery and volunteer time, that made a major overhaul such as putting a cement floor in the curling rink and the previous upgrades a few years ago, possible, I’m sure I was among many who thought, “Not all communities are like this.”

No, they aren’t.

Many would have residents saying, “Well, the town and county should do this for their residents. Isn’t that what we pay taxes for?” and “There’s nothing to do around here.” Well, first of all, the town and county did help, even to the extent of having the town’s CAO help to tweak the grant so the funds that would have gone to roof repairs instead go toward the increased cost of the floor.

And it’s not the town’s facility, it belongs to the curling club, and that group’s members are not just curlers, out for a good time, they are hard workers who are willing to put in immense numbers of hours to get the improvements they want done. They have friends in the right places, friends that are part of organizations and businesses that will donate to the cause, friends who will donate the use of machinery, and friends who will step up and help get the job done, however hard the work is and how long it takes.

Tyler listed them all, but as a friend whose team I used to curl on pointed out to me, a couple of the club’s most hardworking volunteers – Tyler and his wife Joanne – were working right alongside the others all through the process, and they too deserve the tribute paid to all the others, including writing grant applications, which get more complicated all the time.

The curling club is only one of the hardworking volunteer groups in town, who pitch in to get the job done. There’s another group right up the street at the A. G. Ross Arena, who have come up with an ‘Acres for Ice’ fundraiser to help fund the replacement of the aging ice plant. They are also the biggest cheerleaders behind the arena’s Kraft Hockeyville bid, urging everyone to send in their stories and photos, and to vote when the time to vote comes around.

They’ve run a beef raffle and other fundraisers, and you’d better believe that they will just keep working and coming up with more fundraising ideas until they get the money they need to replace the plant. Not all the groups are big, and not all are comprised of young adults. The Elk Point Charity Quilters gather every Tuesday at Elk Point Further Education to sew quilts for those in need of comforting warmth.

The Community Lions of Elk Point go all out every Christmas – after running their Trip of the Month fundraiser earlier in the year – to make sure every family in need has a Christmas dinner and some gifts, through their Santas Anonymous program. And there’s a group of just three – Elk Point Helping Hands members Bernie and Darlene Kozicky and Heather Bjornstad, who gather donations and put together food hampers to help those who are down and out.

Most recently, another source of help for the hungry has come forth, Georges ElIrani at Magic Pizza offering to provide takeout to anyone who is hungry but has no money during the lunch hour and early afternoon throughout February, a generous gesture much praised by his fellow members of the Elk Point and District Chamber of Commerce at last week’s meeting. Elk Point has long been known as a town rich in volunteers, and although those volunteers may get tired from their ongoing efforts, they definitely have a sense of well-earned accomplishment.

Elk Point, you’re definitely the right place for me!