Friday Night Lights campaign reaches goal

Kristen McEwen
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Two weeks after the fundraiser began, the Friday Night Lights campaign reached its goal of $650,000 on Friday.

From left to right: Six young soccer players representing the youth of Prince Albert, president Rory McIntosh of the Prince Albert Youth Soccer Association, David Thorpe of the Friday Night Lights Committee and Friends of Max gathered on the field of Prime Ministers' Park to announce the final contribution to the Friday Night Lights campaign on Friday. Herald photo by Kristen McEwen

At noon, members of the Friday Night Lights Committee and Friends of Max gathered on the field at Prime Ministers’ Park to receive a contribution from the Prince Albert Youth Soccer Association (PAYSA).

“One of the themes of our campaign has been about the youth of Prince Albert and they will be the people who are playing on this field primarily and (are) the benefactors,” said David Thorpe a member of the Friday Night Lights Committee. “Today we wanted to make sure they are represented so we have the youth from Prince Albert Youth Soccer Association and we have the Friends of Max.”

Young soccer players Sarah, Ben, and Gage Grassick, Kyra Ives, Duncan McIntosh and Grayson Neuf were in also attendance to represent the youth who would benefit from using lights for games in the evening. Rory McIntosh, the president of PAYSA, represented the board of directors at the event.

Kyra Ives and Sarah Grassick, on behalf of the association, presented Lucas McConechy from Friends of Max with a cheque for $50,000.  

Andrew Byrne, Jesse Ryanishan and Logan Usselman also represented Friends of Max at the event.

Thorpe made a second announcement at the presentation; local philanthropist Malcolm Jenkins matched the PAYSA contribution, making a total donation of $100,000 to the campaign.

Though Jenkins was unable to attend the event, Thorpe thanked him for the donation.

“On behalf of the Friday Night Lights Committee — Gord (Broda) and Randy (Emmerson), who are here today — I’d like to announce that the $100,000 has put us to our goal of $650,000,” Thorpe said.  “And what that really means is that the field you are on today will be a lighted field for events to start this fall.”

The fundraising committee will also be presenting a recognition campaign prior to the field’s first sporting events in the fall. The campaign will be recognizing the generous contributions that donors have made during the last two weeks.

The Friday Night Lights project was started to fulfill the dream of Max Clunie, a 15-year-old local football player who died in an aircraft accident last summer. Clunie wanted to raise money to provide lights designed for nighttime use at the football field located across from Carlton High School. The lights would be beneficial for any event held at the track and field in the evening, such as football games or the annual Relay For Life events.

In memory of Clunie, family and friends created a group called Friends of Max. This group made the first contribution of $60,000 on June 15.

On July 3, workers from five different electrical companies in Prince Albert collaborated to assemble the six lights in one day. All that is left to complete is some wiring for the lights.

“The official campaign started two weeks ago but we really got … a lot of confidence with the electrical contractors,” Thorpe said. “They were so willing to share their electrical expertise that we knew back in October/November that we could at least give it a try. So that was a big part of it But in two weeks it’s just shown again how our community will come out and support causes that are sports related and for the youth of our community.

Various attendees at the event were wearing  “Max Power” T-shirts as a reminder of Clunie’s dream.

“Although our campaign has reached its goal, we still think these shirts would be a great thing to get out into our community,”

The “Max Power” T-shirts are available for purchase from Monday to Friday at P.A. Soundworks from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and at the Broda Group offices from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Logan Usselman, of the Friends of Max, said he looks forward to playing football underneath the lights.

“It’s way more exciting playing under the lights,” he said. “I hope the whole community comes together to enjoy these lights. It’s for all the youth in P.A. Hopefully the whole community will come out and support the local teams.”

Thorpe said $650,000 was a fantastic amount of money to raise but the contributors to the campaign, including the Kinsmen Club, Broda Group and Malcolm Jenkins, were all key in donating to other community projects.

“We appreciated all of the participation by the whole community,” Broda said. “It’s been a fun project to be a part of because the community really did get behind the project and rally.”

“We’re so fortunate to have them along with the provincial government grants,” Thorpe said. “We were ratified and pleasantly surprised but we knew all along that we could get it done.”

“Just like Max would say,” Broda added.

“Get ‘er done.”

Organizations: Night Lights Committee, Prince Albert Youth Soccer Association, Prince Albert Max Power Broda Group Carlton High School Kinsmen Club

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