Crawford is a Small Town Heroe semi-finalist
Community encouraged to get out and vote to help win a Paul Brandt concert
Abe Crawford is a UFA Small Town Hero semifinalist who has already won $2,500 for two Olds community groups and is in the running for winning a Paul Brandt concert for the community and even more donations for community groups.
And he’s going to need the community’s help to do it.
Ten semifinalists in the UFA Small Town Heroes contest were announced last Friday.
Two people from Olds were nominated - Crawford and Jen Forscutt - with only Crawford advancing to the next stage of the contest.
Crawford was nominated by the YES program’s executive director Raelyn Notley. The recent Olds High School graduate is not only considered a valued volunteer with that program but with Special Olympics in Olds as well.
“We’re all very proud and excited that not only has he been recognized but that the community is benefiting,” said Notley.
UFA’s Small Town Heroes contest is in its third year. It seeks out and rewards individuals in rural Alberta who go above and beyond for their communities.
This year, UFA has raised the stakes, rewarding two grand prize winners with $10,000 each for a winning community project and an exclusive Paul Brandt concert in their hometown. Eight runners-up will receive $2,500 for their respective community projects.
Crawford said his winnings will be divided between the Special Olympics club in Olds and the Boys and Girls Club of Olds and Area where he is a volunteer and employee respectively.
“They both could use the money. We could definitely use some more equipment for Special Olympics,” said Crawford. “And for the Boys and Girls Club, it would give them some breathing room to be able to do more for the kids. It’s all about the kids,” said Crawford.
Up to this point in the contest, contestants have been judged on their own merit, including their community involvement as well as how many votes they garnered through an online balloting system.
It’s now up to communities to help semifinalists win the grand prize.
Judges will tour the province in August stopping at each semifinalist’s hometown to gauge community spirit.
The Town of Olds will be hosting a gathering at the Olds Aquatic Centre between 10 and 11 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 27 to celebrate Crawford.
Members of the community are invited to stop in and show their community spirit to the judges who will be present.
As well, community members are encouraged to vote for Crawford online at www.ufa.com/smalltownheroes/
Votes count for 30 per cent of the end marks in determining who will become the grand prize winners.
For Crawford, the contest’s reward is all about what the community gets if he wins.
“I’m doing it for what you get in the end. This would mean a lot to these groups,” he said.
Notley said she nominated Crawford to the contest because of “the huge impact” he’s had on countless people through his volunteerism and resiliency in the face of adversity.
He’s always the first one to step up to the plate when something needs doing, has become a mentor to many, and is a community builder, said Notley.
“I think he represents, if everyone acted this way, what a community could look like,” said Notley. “There’s never a ‘what’s in it for me’ with him. It’s all about what he can do for you.”
Meanwhile, Forscutt said she was happy for the chance to try to win some money for her cause - a community playground at Holy Trinity School.
She was nominated for a Small Town Heroes recognition for her tireless effort to fundraise and coordinate the development of a playground that could be used by the entire community of Olds, and not just the Catholic school membership.
“I haven’t done this for the recognition,” said Forscutt. “I did it for the kids; they’re fantastic and deserve a playground to be kids on.”
She was sucessful in Holy Trinity’s bid for a matching grant through the Let Them Be Kids (LTBK) organization.