Wow, Kamloops, it didn’t take long to show your generosity.
The thought of the city’s Army, Sea and Navy cadets losing the use of their building due to a broken furnace — on the cusp of Remembrance Day — brought out soft hearts in full force this week.
On Tuesday, City council discussed a letter from the Kamloops Cadet Society, which explained that its furnace had burned up and a new one costing $8,000 was needed. The group sought at least $4,000 from the City so it could apply for matching federal grants for the remainder.
Council voted against the donation.
On Thursday, The Daily News put out the call for help so as many as 150 cadets could be warm in their Briar Avenue building this winter.
Within an hour of the newspaper office opening Friday morning, the $4,000 was reached and by day’s end, $5,665 was collected.
But the money wasn’t just flowing through the newspaper. Wayne Corbin, with the Kamloops Cadet Society, was awakened by a ringing phone at 7:30 a.m. Friday with someone promising to write a $500 cheque.
Another call soon followed — someone phoning on behalf of a woman offering to make up the needed funds.
“When the woman called, I got tears in my eyes,” Corbin said. “I’ve been dealing with that hall for years. It always seems like we can’t fix the urinal, we can’t fix the walls, there’s nothing we can do extra.”
So even without the donations to the newspaper, the cadets had a new furnace.
Corbin is meeting with the group’s 87-year-old benefactor today. She wants to remain anonymous.
But the rest of the money raised will still go to a good cause. A few years ago, the cadet building roof caved in. Corbin said he’d had the tar-and-gravel roof patched over the years, but eventually it gave way.
The society had to get a loan to repair it, which sits at $22,000.
“I was just thinking, well, we owe on the roof, so why don’t we just pay down that debt?”
So some of the money generously donated for the furnace will go toward paying off the roof that also keeps the cadets warm.
“The whole deal is the kids have to fundraise to pay for their own rent, plus to pay off the roof and then to try to have money left over to do things. Which hasn’t happened a lot in the last couple of years.”
Corbin was so surprised he was lost for words when told about the amounts that came into the newspaper office.
Finally, he mustered a response.
Then the realization that he can get the furnace replaced and some heat into the building hit him.
“I’m going to phone the furnace guy now. The sooner the better.”
Corbin had been making the rounds Friday, dealing with boxes of Remembrance Day poppies around town. He hadn’t had much chance to think about The Daily News donations until mid-afternoon, but was surprised at just how much people were giving.
“You always see this in the paper or on the news; something happens and people come forward. I just didn’t think it would come forward for a Kamloops cadet hall roof or furnace,” he said.
“It just shocked me that all in one day, you can raise $5,000 and others come forward.”
The Daily News kicked off the fundraising flurry with $200. Scorpion Technologies matched that amount, but CSC Electric and Cactus Jacks gave $2,000 and $1,000, respectively. And even though some City councillors voted against the group’s request, Coun. Marg Spina gave $150 and Mayor Peter Milobar anted up $100.
Corbin’s two sons have been through cadets, and he has remained as a volunteer.
“They all become your family.”
The outpouring of support will make this Remembrance Day a little more memorable for Corbin and the rest of the cadet family. On Friday, he choked up talking about it.
“I don’t know how to say thank you.”