Tom Van Dusen
Villager Contributor
RUSSELL–They’re calling it “Roasted Doc a la Menard”, a major event to kick off the Russell Kin Club’s newest major fundraising project in support of a local aquatic centre.

While no such project has been approved by Russell Township, Kin Club president Doug Anthony says it’s only a matter of time before those elected to council Oct. 22 will understand the importance of such a centre for local residents. In a Kin survey of township residents, 92 per cent wanted an indoor pool ahead of other projects.

The Kin Club has plenty of credibility when it comes to promoting community projects. It spearheaded and raised a good chunk of the funds for the Sports Dome which, when first proposed, many thought was over-ambitious; the Dome stands as proof positive the club does what it says it’s going to do. That effort was recently realized nationally as best Kin service project of the year.

The Russell club decided it could combine two objectives, recognizing the dedication of Dr. Darrell Menard as a family physician for the past several years while moving forward on an indoor pool. Menard has decided to retire from general practice while maintaining his sports medicine specialization.

“Doc Menard cared, listened, and always took great care of us at all hours of the day,” Anthony said. “He and wife Janet have been incredible supporters of this community.”

An avid runner and power walker, Menard represented Canadians at the Olympics and Para Olympics several times as the “premiere sports medicine doctor in Canada.” In addition, known for his pranks and outrageous costumes, Menard is a colourful character who loves life.

Set for Dec. 1 at Embrun Community Centre, the Kin Club decided to support a project Menard endorses – the aquatic centre – with a “hilarious” roast in his honour. There’s no shortage of material, Anthony noted, and several “friends” will be on hand to take a stab at it. There’ll be hors d’oeuvres, a jazz band, and live auction as well.

Corporate tables are on sale for $1,200 for eight places with Aqua Centre Supporter tables going for $2,500 for eight seats. There’s also an Official Event Sponsor opportunity, with two tables and 16 seats, going for $10,000. The Kin proved this approach can work during fundraising for the Dome; with limited advertising, more than 40 per cent of 50 tables at the Menard event have already been sold.