Clearwater has received momentous support in its plan to build a legacy to a beloved couple that died in a vehicle accident last December.
A fundraising contest to construct an elementary school playground honouring Skye and Courtney Buck reached the semi-finals on Thursday.
Although the town's population is barely more than 2,400, their campaign votes exceeded 18,000.
The couple grew up in Clearwater and after travelling the world and becoming teachers, chose to return.
Skye was a teacher at Clearwater secondary and his wife Courtney taught at Raft River elementary. They were expecting their first child when their vehicle tumbled down a 30-metre embankment.
The community reeled from the loss of a couple they called "local heroes."
"Not only did they exemplify the true word of community, their actions of volunteering in after-school programs showed what their true love was — teaching students," states the online campaign.
Residents soon rallied to find a suitable tribute. They settled on the idea of a new playground in the dilapidated courtyard of the 300-student elementary school.
With such a small population in Clearwater, the project's cost seems insurmountable but organizers have taken a page out of the Bucks' book for inspiration.
"They modelled everything that was possible," states the campaign write-up. "As Skye Buck said: The only real failure is the failure to try and all we can do is get up in the morning and do our best. Nothing else matters."
To achieve their dream, the school's parent advisory committee put together a plan and applied for funding through the Aviva Community Fund.
The organization is holding a contest to divvy up $1 million, of which Clearwater hopes to get about $125,000.
"This (courtyard) is currently not landscaped and consists of a picnic table, broken pavement, two basketball hoops with no court area and a small climbing feature," states the contest entry.
"We want to establish a courtyard that is dynamic, new and is a tribute to our two teachers who graced our community and live within us all."
The Aviva Community Fund competition is open to all communities in Canada and relies on public support through online votes to determine who gets money.
In January 2012, the Kamloops United Church won an $80,000 Aviva grant to renovate its kitchen.
Clearwater could be the next regional community to benefit but it will need to gather votes to move into the next stage. On Dec. 2, the second round of voting begins to determine the ultimate winners.
"We ask you to vote and help us create a playground that is every bit as dynamic and engaging as the couple who we serve to honour."
Find out more at avivacommunityfund.org or on the Facebook page River Raft Playground.
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Watch the video prepared for the contest here: http://vimeo.com/75677410#