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Fundraising efforts for the “Together We Stand” campaign raised more than $24,000 for the High Level Fire Department’s training centre.
On Oct. 5, during the Firefighter’s Ball, representatives from Raye’s Signs presented an oversized cheque to HLFD Fire Chief Rodney Schmidt in a total amount of $24,042.22.
“As of tonight, our journey ends on this,” Raye Smith-Knox told those in attendance. “We have been overwhelmed with all the support.”
In thanking the local business for their efforts, Schmidt said Raye’s Signs have shown strong support for the HLFD since they opened their business, calling it “phenomenal.”
“We have given them numerous awards over the years for the help they provided us, and it has just been amazing,” he said.
Smith-Knox said the idea to provide support to the fire department came after she spoke with Schmidt on the phone during the early days of the evacuation. She asked him how things were going in High Level.
“I honestly didn’t have an answer,” Schmidt said. “We didn’t know at that point whether the town was going to be here or not.”
Smith Knox said she could hear that uncertainty in his voice, and resolved to do something to help the community and the fire departments working to save the town.
“We needed to do something,” said Smith-Knox. “We need to help our community. Dayne Braun was the only one in the office who was in town still, and both Braun and Smith-Knox worked on the idea until the early morning hours to perfect it.
The emblem prominently features the Town of High Level logo in a white circle outlined in black. The High Level logo is wreathed in flames and the emblem features the words “High Level” and “Together We Stand.”
The black circle represents the unity of the community and the area as it came together to assist with the emergency. The phrase, “Together we stand,” represents the relationships that formed between those who pulled together.
The white base inside the logo represents pure, loving energy for all the firefighters and volunteers who came to High Level – including those who reached out to assist the evacuees in any way. The white also represents a hopeful, bright future.
The fire in the emblem has a double meaning. In one way, it represents the Chuckegg Creek fire. In another, it represents the fire that lives in the hearts of all who were battling it.
The campaign generated a tremendous amount of attention, with groups as far away as Newfoundland contacting Raye’s Signs to make orders. Their first goal was to raise $1,000, and, according to Smith-Knox, that goal was met very quickly. So they continued to set goals and in the weeks that followed, continued to raise money.
Smith-Knox said the outpouring of support was what really drove their fundraising efforts.
“All the business community jumped on board, and all of you jumped on board with it,” she said.
“It’s been amazing,” said Schmidt.
As a special thank you, Jim Knox, Dayne Braun, and Raye Smith-Knox were each presented with a special coin created by the High Level fire department which has only been given to the firefighters who responded to the Chuckegg Creek fire and a few non-firefighters who played instrumental roles in the successful defence of High Level.
The coin features the “Together We Stand” emblem on the back of it.
There have been a lot of other groups that made donations to the fire department, including a $1,500 donation by Traditions Café and Gifts which included collected tips and a matching donation from the company.