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“Wow. What a district.”

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John McTaggart could not have summed it up better here Monday morning as he joined Jim Krag and Wayne Woods to announce the “Care Close to Home” fundraising campaign had topped its $3.5-million goal.

In just over six months, to boot.

Beginning with the “stretcher push” down Highway 11 from Rainy River to Fort Frances over two days last June, it was clear right from the start the campaign to raise the local share for much-needed renovations at La Verendrye hospital here and the Emo Health Centre had the support of residents, businesses, and service clubs from one end of the district to the other.

The campaign would not have succeeded otherwise. Nor, lest it be overlooked, without the incredible time and effort by the hard-working volunteers who had spearheaded it for all these months.

Everyone deserves hearty congratulations for raising so much money, particularly in the wake of similar fundraising efforts for the Townshend Theatre and new arena here just a few short years ago.

Equally important, though, is the realization by district residents that we’re going to have to foot more of the bill for such things as health care given funding from senior levels of government is drying up.

In fact, Rainy River District should be held up as a shining example to the rest of the province of what people can accomplish when they put their minds and hearts to it.

But this is no time to rest on our laurels, either, or let the momentum generated by the “Care Close to Home” campaign slip away. After all, this may be just the tip of the iceberg of what we face in the years ahead.

Fortunately, given the comments by Mr. Krag at Monday’s press conference, and the calibre of people at the helm, that’s one thing district residents won’t have to worry about.

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