So proud

Dear editor:
I am not from Fort Frances . . . at least that’s what I’ve been told by people who I’ve met over the years.
I moved to Northwestern Ontario in 1992, and to Fort Frances in 1994, from “down East.” The first winter here, we didn’t own a snowmachine and we weren’t into the bar scene, so we wondered what we were going to do with ourselves for entertainment.
We started five-pin bowling, then I started volunteering for bowling events. It wasn’t long before I was elected to the executive of the club and I did that for a number of years.
As our child grew older, I got involved with the sports and activities he was involved in, and I volunteered for those committees, as well.
One thing led to another and I started curling about five or six years ago. I now sit on the board of directors for the Fort Frances Curling Club.
When applications were being accepted for the “Kraft Celebration Tour” competition, I knew that Hailey Beaudry and Charles Fisher had written submissions for the curling club. I didn’t give it much thought because I knew that the Kraft challenge received hundreds of applications and I was busy with other curling club efforts and the Boundary Water Dragon Boat Festival.
It came as a bit of a shock that we had been chosen as a finalist and that we had little time to prepare a campaign for the 24-hour online voting period on July 19. We quickly called a meeting asking for volunteers to form the Kraft Celebration Tour committee; we drew from the curlers and expanded to include the Chamber of Commerce and a representative from the Town of Fort Frances (Mayor Roy Avis).
Every one of the 14 members and five regular guests on the committee had great ideas and there was never an issue of trying to find someone to accomplish a task. As recording secretary, it was my job to keep track of the action items—and boy there were a lot!
We knew that we were going to have to go outside the curling club population if we had any chance of winning the vote, and that we would need the help of local businesses.
And that is why I’m writing this letter. Never, in all the years of volunteering and asking for donations, have I ever experienced the profound generosity that happened over these last two weeks.
Quite often I didn’t even get the chance to finish what I was asking for when I would be cut off and someone would say, “What do you need?”
The community involvement and group spirit exhibited by those in this area, those who are from this area, and those who know someone from this area are second to none.
It may be that I’m still a little tired and blurry-eyed from sitting at the curling club and voting for the entire 24 hours, but the outpouring of support from all businesses, friends, families, extended families, and social media on both sides of the border, and indeed from around the world (we know people from Ireland, Japan, and Australia who voted for us), reached such epic proportions that I felt that I had to share this.
My heart is so full, and I am so proud of this town and its citizens that I just had to say something.
Regardless of the outcome of this perhaps once-in-a-lifetime event, I thank you. Each and every one of you that did anything to help give Fort Frances and the Fort Frances Curling Club a shot at winning the “Kraft Celebration Tour,” thank you.
Maybe now I can finally say: I am from Fort Frances.
Respectfully submitted,
Kayne Shaw
Fort Frances, Ont.