Successful fundraising evening
Embrun and Russell fire chiefs Brian Duhamel and Bruce Armstrong were happy with the Trivia Night results. Courtesy Saucier photo

EMBRUN – A plan to purchase new, high-tech Jaws of Life for the Embrun and Russell fire departments took a financial turn for the better last Saturday thanks to another Trivia Night fundraiser coordinated by Connie Johnston and her team of volunteers.

The event, which drew more than 100 participants to the Embrun Community Centre brought in $10,500 for the cause. The amount only goes part way in paying for the $60,000 equipment, the balance of which will be covered by Russell Township; however, it represents a healthy contribution from volunteer firefighters toward the important purchase.

Hydraulically powered sheers that cut through metal used to extract victims in car crashes, Jaws of Life have been around for 40 years. Embrun and Russell both own older models; the new improved set will be kept at the Embrun Fire Hall because that department is responsible for a section of Highway 417 where serious crashes are more common. 

Believing that a good night might raise $4,000, Embrun chief Brian Duhamel was delighted with the final count. Helping to raise the total, Johnston said, were 80 items in the silent and live auction, with Ray Scharfe successfully wielding the hammer for the first time. Even more important, she explained, were donations made prior to Trivia Night including two $1,000 gifts.

“One couple gave $1,000 because the Jaws of Life had played a significant role when their daughter was rescued from a crash.” 

Indicating that the next Trivia Night Nov. 2 in Russell will be to purchase Christmas gifts for seniors with no close family, Johnston felt the Jaws of Life event was very successful – as did Mayor Pierre Leroux – with the money collected to make a significant dent in the purchase price.

She said expectations have changed since Scotiabank terminated a program where it contributed $5,000 to worthy community causes: “We count on about $7,000 these days without Scotiabank topping it up. So, the Embrun Trivia Night was particularly rewarding.”

The Trivia Queen said she received no complaints that the event was entirely in English: “I warned organizers in advance, I could only do it that way and they accepted it. It’s too complicated to translate questions and try to deliver them in two languages. But I don’t mind advising anyone who wants to run a French Trivia event.”