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‘Buy a brick’ drive picking up steam


With another $26,000 pledged in the last two weeks, the Rainy River hospital’s “Buy a brick, build it quick” campaign topped $180,500 as of last Thursday.

The campaign is aiming to raise $300,000 by the Dec. 31 target deadline.

Ken Johnston, editor of the Rainy River Record and the advertising campaign co-ordinator, said 341 of the 595 “bricks” have now been pledged for (each one costs $500).

“We’re hopefully going to get another [$25,000] cheque from the Legion this week,” Johnston said, noting donations from the Royal Canadian Legion Br. 54 in Rainy River so far total $50,000.

“That will put us well over the $200,000 mark,” he added. “Then once we hit $225,000, they’ll give us another $25,000 and we’ll be almost there.”

Meanwhile, the fundraising drive’s newsletter, entitled “The Impossible Dream,” was mailed out last week to residents in Morson, Stratton, Pinewood, Sleeman, and Rainy River.

Fundraising co-chairs Larry Armstrong and Laurene Hannam are eagerly awaiting what interest it can stir up.

“We had a pretty healthy donation from [the local chapter] of the Rebekah Lodge,” Armstrong said, noting that group donated $6,000.

“I heard a couple more people say that they’re going to [buy a brick],” Hannam added. “[Although] that’s not having it [in hand].”

Hannam had a chance to show off the newsletter during the hospital auxiliary’s Christmas tea and bazaar last Sunday, with all proceeds earmarked for the new hospital.

“[The hospital auxiliary] will be buying two bricks,” she noted. “But in addition to that, we are going to furnish a quiet room [in the hospital] and we’re having our first tuck shop.

“Some of the auxiliary members have written out letters to send out to family and friends so maybe that will help too,” she added.

Momentum on the pledge drive has matched the construction of the new hospital on Fourth Street, with much of its outside structure now completed.

It is still on schedule to open this coming spring.

“I think each time the people see more progress on the building, I think they’re getting a little more aware that we’re actually getting this hospital,” Hannam said.

“From just the outside appearance of it, I think it’s going to be a super looking building,” Armstrong added.

But with less than a month left until the end of the year, the pressure is on to reach the $300,000 mark by Dec. 31.

That’s not to say the project will fold if the local community doesn’t raise $300,000, Hannam said, nor will they stop accepting donations after the deadline.

It’s just that Dec. 31 was the date the committee originally aimed for when the drive began back in October--and that hasn’t changed.

“We’re not shutting off,” she said. “As far as I know, we hope to do it.”

“We’ll keep on trucking towards the end result,” agreed Armstrong. “We still hear people when you talk to them on the street [saying] ‘I’m going to get a brick, I’m going to get a brick.’”

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