Out of a dark circumstance, hope and new friendships can arise. At the October 25th second Annual RCMP Regimental Ball to benefit Leduc & District Victim Services, a spellbound crowd of three hundred guests heard the story shared by ‘Amy’, a young Leduc mother of three children who realized that her life as the victim of extreme domestic abuse had to change. She approached Leduc’s Victim Services and from there found herself gratefully tucked under its protective arm and introduced to three local organizations that contributed to her journey towards safety, hope and healing: the Leduc & District Food Bank, FCSS and its counsellors, and surprisingly, the Courthouse, where Lucy the Dog has become a friend to her kids. Amy shared that counselling for her and her three children has shown her the brighter path she is now traveling on.
In its 24th year, Leduc’s Victim Services is a non-profit, police-based organization that works hard at helping victims of tragic situations such as fires, sudden passings and critical domestic situations. Last year they came up with a fundraising format that has proven to be most successful, offering a Masquerade Ball & Silent Auction as a venue to celebrate hope and elicit generous donations towards the operational funds of this group.
In the sumptuous ballroom of the new Marriot Renaissance Hotel connected to the International Airport, the evening began with an impressive parade of all emergency services personnel clad in red serge and gold-striped uniforms. In a festive décor orchestrated by Fresh Look Event Management of Leduc, several entertainers roamed tirelessly throughout the evening. A juggler on stilts, a couple playing with fire, another doing impressive acrobatics, a funny balloon man attempting to swallow a three-foot long balloon, this collection of show-stopping performers celebrated the life and energy that Victim Services infuses in its ‘clients’ and enhanced the festive atmosphere for the guests who with their ticket purchase, had already started giving to this great cause. The attractive and plentiful Silent and Live Auctions added to the final funds raised. Guests enjoyed the lively bidding for a young RCMP officer as an escort to an Edmonton Oilers hockey game and a pre-game dinner.
Ed Rifo, Executive Director of Leduc’s Victim Services, shared that, “our job is to restore the broken and heal the wounded through our advocates and our community agencies.” Full of energy and impressive dance moves, Ed Rifo was a congenial host, occasionally sharing the stage with dynamic MCs Jennifer Dalen and Gruff Gushnowski, radio hosts at The One 93.10 FM. He introduced current and soon-to-leave Leduc RCMP Detachment Commander Inspector Wally Lynds who shared positive words about the critical role Victim Services plays in our regional communities.
Four tables were fully occupied by the sponsors of this stellar event: The One 93.1 FM (presenting sponsor), SERVUS Credit Union (welcome to its new Leduc Branch manager Nils Skalin and lovely wife Stefanie), Primo Electric and Nisku’s Stitchery and More. It was interesting to discover that RCMP and other emergency services represented at the Gala came from other corners of our province with participants from Wetaskiwin, Fort Assiniboine, Three Hills, and the Edmonton Police Service. Also, from the Calgary Police Services, Inspector Paul Manuel and his wife Theresa, were guests along with Matthew Bunker, a City of Leduc Fire Services member and a few of their new recruits.
Kim Vriesen, a former Victim Services advocate and current Chair of its Board of Directors, shared that, “our wonderful and solid relationship with the RCMP allows us to connect with the people who need us the most.”
Total of funds raised were not available at press time but by the look of things, this Gala was a great fundraising success for this critical non-profit organization.
Pictured: Nicole, Blaine and Dominique Vrolyk pose for a friend at the Regimental Ball. Photo supplied by Dominique Vrolyk