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Local musicians hosting fundraiser for emergency shelter

Jasper’s own Sons & Daughter will be among the local artists performing at the fundraiser at The Stand Easy Jasper Royal Canadian Legion Branch 31 on Aug. 18. | J.Stockfish photo

Jason Stockfish |

Local musicians will be performing at The Stand Easy Jasper Royal Canadian Legion Branch 31 on Aug. 18 to fundraise for the Yellowhead Emergency Shelter for Women (YES).

The theme of the evening is the 1960s, and admission to the event is by donation with all the proceeds going to the shelter.

The organizers of the fundraiser are Rob Gray, Saša Jurko and David McKnight, three musicians whose love for playing live music and community-building has inspired them to raise money for a great cause with music-loving friends and community members.

“I used to do these fundraisers many years ago, but then I kind of fell off the face of the earth…and went into myself and disappeared,” Gray said.

“But now I’m back and I want to start contributing again to society.”

As a taxi driver, Gray’s experience with the shelter’s services is first hand, having dropped off women and children on more occasions that he’d care to remember. 

“It has happened on Christmas morning,” he said.

Wanting to make a positive difference in his community, he decided one way to help was to organize a fundraiser for the shelter that cares for those he has personally dropped off. 

“Rob came up with this great idea to contribute and I can’t think of a better reason,” Jurko said.

“We thought it was a wonderful reason to get together and play some music and try to do some good.”

Gray noted the response from the community has been very supportive with local musicians happy to play and fundraisers happy to pay toward the cause.

“Yeah, the community is really good like that, getting involved with what other people are doing, not just themselves,” Jurko said.

“It’s great to get their support.”

The talents of those who gather and play music together on Open Mic Night are as exceptional as the people behind the talent, Jurko noted. 

Before the event has even taken place, the organizers have raised $13,000, $12,000 of which was donated by CN Rail and its employees.

“For CN, giving back is not a slogan — it is a way of doing business,” said Tyler Banick, manager of public & government affairs with the railway company.

“Our commitment to help build safer, stronger communities, is how we give something back. It’s how we make the communities in which we operate better places to live and work.” 

Banick noted that it was a local grassroots group of CN volunteers who created the program Common Connections Program, dedicated to supporting mental health and well-being.

“CN and local Union members recognize the need to support one another and in turn work collaboratively, performing positive deeds within the community.”

A portion of their donation was raised in July when CN hosted a food truck to prepare Christmas dinners paid for by donations from the company’s employees, friends and family.

The remainder was raised at a CN Employees’ and Pensioners’ Community Fund silent auction.

“To get that sort of support is absolutely breathtaking,” Jurko said.

The Jasper Fire Department stepped up yet again, supporting the emergency shelter by giving $500 to the cause.

“The Jasper Volunteer Fire Brigade strives to serve the community and we recognize the process of saving lives goes well beyond the accident or fire scene,” the department stated in an email.

“(YES) saves lives through advocacy, support and refuge for women and children in their times of need.”

Griffith’s Ford in Hinton has also donated $500.

“The Yellowhead Emergency Shelter plays such a vital role in our area and knowing the importance of the shelter and its volunteers, we’re proud to have the opportunity to donate to such an organization,” said Jason Griffiths, dealer principal of the dealership.

Mc Knight offered his wonder at how the plan was coming together with seeming relative ease.

“This came out of nowhere. How does this happen?”

Jurko said that ultimately the idea was first expressed during a Jam Night at the Legion.

“We enjoy playing music together, we have a lot of fun together,” he said.

“And it sounds so cliche, but we just decided, let’s do some good.”

The show starts at 9 p.m. and admission is by donation. 

The official lineup for the evening will be announced soon.

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