An “overwhelming success” is how Dan Kroffat described the Community Builders Gala event to honour Alex Baum on Sunday evening.
The annual event, which honours those who give back and make a difference to the Cochrane community and beyond in a big way, raised $75,000 for the Girl Guides of Calgary and Area – tripling the $25,000 goal to help build the fully inclusive and accessible playground at Camp Jubilee in Cochrane.
The charity du jour was deemed the Girl Guides, who are looking to raise $125,000 with the help of the Rotary Club of Cochrane to help rebuild its Cochrane Jubilee playground at its Cochrane site. The playground was wiped out by the catastrophic 2013 flood.
Kroffat, retired professional celebrity wrestler and local philanthropist, selected longtime friend Baum – owner of Cochrane Toyota, Rotarian and community builder – as this year’s honouree.
“When you have a worthy cause joined by an enthusiastic committee, it’s pretty hard to fail,” said Kroffat, who commended Baum in his speech as an “inspirational individual” who goes “above and beyond” to help out whenever and wherever he is able.
Out of the $75,000 raised at the event, $35,000 was raised in 35 minutes through a live auction hosted by auctioneer John Copithorne. Treasures for Your Home Society, delivered a surprise donation of $10,000 at the end of the event.
Generosity was highlighted by the sale of two final boxes of Girl Guide cookies – which fetched $2,200, sweetened by a signed Stampeders jersey from retired running back Jon Cornish, two Stamps game tickets and a Kokanee Springs Golf Resort weekend getaway.
The catered dinner was held at the Cochrane RancheHouse in a room filled with friends, family, political representatives (MLA Pete Guthrie and MP Blake Richards) and even a sprinkling of celebrities including actor/songwriter/philanthropist Tom Jackson and Calgary radio sports personality Jock Wilson. Some in the crowd took to the mic to share a few words about Baum.
Kroffat gave a nod to Shelly Kramer of Royal Lepage Integrity for sponsoring the room for the event and Gary Sartorio of Shaganappi GM and Lina’s Italian Market in Calgary for providing the dinner.
With a cost to build the playground on higher ground coming in at around $700,000, three major fundraisers – this community tribute dinner, the Outhouse Races and the Monumental Tournament of Aces – have a combined goal of at least $125,000 to help rebuild the playground.
It was the late Cochrane Eagle publisher who was selected as the premiere honouree in 2016. This year the community, finalized by town council, chose to name Cochrane’s largest infrastructure project to date, the Jack Tennant Memorial Bridge, after him. Last year the honouree was famed Calgary Flames trainer Bearcat Murray last year.
To get in touch with Kroffat to help plan for the 2020 Community Builders Gala event, he can be reached at 403-850-1001.