Lions fundraiser marks 15th year of helping community
Bordan Tchegus, Al Hagerman and Bob Raaflaub of the Waterford Lions Club were at the Waterford Tricenturena on Saturday for the annual skate-a-thon. Hagerman and Raaflaub started the event 15 years ago to help fund the arena's upgrades. Since then the skate-a-thon has raised thousands of dollars to support other community needs and services. VINCENT BALL/POSTMEDIA NEWS
The Waterford Lions Club celebrated an anniversary on Saturday.
Club members marked 15 years of helping out the community through the annual skate-a-thon at the Waterford Tricenturena.
“It was only supposed to go for about four or five years,” Bob Raaflaub, who, along with Al Hagerman, started the fund-raising event all those years ago. “We wanted to help out with the arena and I was hearing about walk-a-thons to raise money for other causes like cancer.
“I thought that maybe we should do a skate-a-thon here to support the arena because we'd get a lot of support from families with figure skaters and hockey players.”
With that in mind, Raaflaub and Hagerman started the 'Raise the Roof' fund for the Waterford Tricenturena with the goal of raising $50,000 through the skate-a-thon. The club met its commitment to the arena within a couple of years, but decided to keep it going to help out other community needs.
“Over the years we've contributed funds to a lot of different causes,” Bordan Tchegus, first vice-president of the Waterford Lions Club, said Saturday. “We've given money to support Camp Trillium, the Norfolk General Hospital and the fire department to help them purchase equipment.
“We've also used some of the money to purchase guide dogs and this year we're going to use our share to get an autism assistance dog for someone in the community.”
The skate-a-thon gets a great deal of support from the community and this year's event attracted just over 200 participants. It was expected to generate about $6,500, Tchegus said.
“We get a lot of support from five area schools and we split the proceeds from the skate-a-thon with them 50-50,” he said. “Of the 50 per cent given to the schools, 15 per cent of the funds are used to support nutrition programs in the school.”
Students at the five area schools – Boston, Bloomsburg, St. Bernard's, Teeterville and Waterford – receive pledge sheets to raise money to support the event.
“We also get a lot of support from the community including local businesses,” Tchegus said. “The support we get from businesses pays for the expenses and the extras we provide to participants.”