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Hospital brick drive in home stretch

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The Rainy River hospital’s “buy a brick, build it quick” campaign has reached $244,500 in pledges--and optimism is running high the $300,000 goal will be reached by year’s end.

With $25,000 still to come from the Royal Canadian Legion, the number of $500 bricks needed to be bought to reach the $300,000 mark drops to 61.

“Someone just called me to give another $2,000,” noted Ken Johnston, editor of the Rainy River Record who’s also chairing the advertising campaign committee.

“With this being the crunch on the income tax season, a lot of people are giving to get the break on the income tax rate,” he added. “Even the commercial fishermen bought five bricks last week--they haven’t been in existence since last year.”

Johnston noted the past four weeks have seen stellar support from the community, with weekly totals hitting $12,000, $14,000, 17,500, and 23,500--and that doesn’t include the local Legion’s second $25,000 donation two weeks ago.

“With the Legion, that’s almost $100,000 in the last month,” he enthused.

“It seems to be in the last two or three weeks the support seems to be increasing,” fundraising committee co-chair Larry Armstrong noted. “Our push is very close.”

“I have every confidence that we’ll make it,” echoed co-chair Laurene Hannam. “There are more people in town and others from out of town that have stated they’re interested in making a donation and buying a brick.”

Johnston said newspaper ads in the Record and Fort Frances Times, coupled with the recent newsletter mailed out, have been very helpful in keeping the spotlight on the fundraising drive.

The donations from the Legion and other service groups also have been a big contribution.

“It just inspires people to be a part of something that’s truly community in nature,” Johnston remarked. “I think everybody feels good about this project.”

“Comments are people can’t wait to get the Record to see how the wall is building, who’s added to it,” Armstrong said. “It’s kind of an event in the community and it creates an awareness.”

While some had doubts at the start if the town could raise $300,000 by Dec. 31, they’ve seemed to be erased now.

“We can always count on the community to support any project that we have,” Hannam stressed, noting the same kind of doubts arose when the town started building its recreation centre.

“The town has gotten behind anything we’ve put a drive on,” she said. “It has a big heart.”

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