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I find great inspiration, and comfort, from youth who overcome adversity. And inspiration was the resounding message at Alberta Adolescent Recovery Centre (AARC) 20 Years of Miracles Gala Benefit Dinner held May 31 at the Telus Convention Centre. When a young person walks through the doors of AARC, they are desperate, downtrodden, defeated — and addicted to drugs or alcohol, or both.
Yet there is hope. For the past 20 years, AARC has graduated 481 adolescents along with more than 1,600 family members. And the outstanding success of the 20 Years of Miracles gala benefit ensures AARC graduates and their families can look forward to meaningful lives full of purpose and joy.
That more than $1.4 million was raised this night is miraculous indeed. This ranks the AARC benefit as one of the most successful fundraising events in the city. Such success is thanks to the tireless efforts of AARC staff, the gala volunteer committee, sponsors, donors and guests who attended the inspirational dinner. Kudos to presenting sponsor Remington Development Corp., which has been the exclusive title sponsor since Day 1. Other corporations stepping up to the plate include Corus Entertainment, Vermilion Energy, Flint Energy Services, Parallel Energy Trust, Saw Communications and Canoe Financial, to name but a few.
Hearing AARC graduates Jessica D., Jennifer T., Trayce S. and Keegan E. share their stories of despair and eventual hope left many in the audience visibly moved. Emcee and interviewer Dave Kelly did, as always, as superb job as did special guests W. Brett Wilson and NHL great Martin Gelinas.
Others in attendance included: AARC board chair Ann McCaig and her daughter Jane McCaig with her husband, Rich Waller, with their daughter, Emma Waller; AARC executive director Dean Vause and his wife, Joanne; AARC clinical directors Natalie Imbach and Colin Brown; Haskayne School of Business professor Robert Schulz with Chinese National Petroleum Corporation’s Margaret Jia; Albi Homes’ Tom and Debra Mauro; Pat and Sherrold Moore; Kathy Hays; Dianne Mosher and Livello’s Michael Giles; Child Advocacy Centre’s Tara Robinson and Leah Murray; Remington Development’s Randy Remington with his wife, Donna, and their son, Ryan Remington, colleagues Jamie Cooper and his wife, Lisa Cooper, and Cody Clayton with his wife, Tara; Olympian Michelle Cameron Coulter and her son Spencer Coulter; Bill and Nancy Andrew (and here, I must salute this wonderful couple on their outstanding support of AARC); Sam Switzer; Brookfield Properties’ Ian Parker and Sheldon Vetter; YWCA CEO Sue Tomney; Dick and Lois Haskayne; Safe Haven Foundation founders John and Karen Sherbut; Heritage Park CEO Alida Visbach and her husband, Paul Corbett of Stair Shoppe; Ron and Rosalie Belsher; Trimac’s Jeff McCaig and his wife, Marilyn McCaig; WestJet board chair Clive Beddoe and his wife, Ruth; AARC board member Jan Brenneman and her husband, Ron; and Calgary Herald publisher Guy Huntingford and his wife, Riina.