Town reaches fundraising goal

As of 10:57 a.m. yesterday, the Rainy River Hospital’s “Buy a Brick and Build it Quick” drive was just one brick short from reaching its goal of $300,000 by year’s end–and it was sold before the day was out.
More than $250,000 has been donated by the public so far to the new hospital project. And still to come is the final $25,000 instalment from the Royal Canadian Legion Br. #54 in Rainy River, plus $25,000 in interest on money already in the bank which matures Jan. 1.
Taken together, that brings the total to more than $300,000.
“I told you we’d do it,” enthused Laurene Hannam, who’s been co-chairing the fundraising committee with Larry Armstrong.
“From the very beginning, there were many that said, ‘That’s not possible,’” she remarked. “Then there were the rest of us that felt very confident that it would carry on.
“And then there’s a great deal of satisfaction that there has been enough interest in the hospital in supporting it to go ahead and buy all these bricks,” she added.
“I think [the campaign] has met all expectations,” echoed Armstrong. “We felt confident from the opening kick-off that we would make it.”
Donations weren’t restricted to Rainy River residents, either, the pair noted. People in Sleeman, Pinewood, Stratton, and right across the district contributed.
“I think the newsletter we printed through the Times really helped a lot,” noted Rainy River Record editor Ken Johnston, who’s been in charge of updating the brick campaign. “We’ve taken care of our share and the government’s taken care of its share.
“I didn’t think we were going to do it about a month-and-a-half ago,” he admitted. “This is fantastic for a little town like Rainy River and the surrounding area.”
Even though the community has reached $300,000, about 20 bricks are still left to be sold on “the wall.” Johnston said the campaign will raise $313,000 when all 595 bricks are sold.
And Armstrong said the committee is aiming to make sure all of them are sold.
“There’s a couple of people talking about getting over there and getting their bricks,” he noted. “So there’s still a couple more [donations] out there.”
Meanwhile, construction on the new hospital has moved indoors as the structure is now completely closed in. Johnston said work crews are aiming to have it ready for occupation in the first part of April.
“There are some organizations like the hospital auxiliary that have set aside money to furnish rooms,” he noted. “They’ve taken initiatives not even accounted for in the original plans.
“It’s going to be a really nice facility.”