Calgary SUN: Sunday March 12th 2016
I would like to take a little time to salute the listeners of my radio show on CJAY92 who each and every week restore my faith in humanity and how there are those out there who give a damn.
We started the Gerry Forbes Secret Wish many years ago at Christmas to help families that wouldn’t have a Christmas or a present to give any of their little ones and it was the start of something great.
Following that in January I got to thinking why can't we do this year round and help people who need a hand up when they stumble, a quick chat with then Program Director Stewart Meyers and with handshake we were on our way to help change peoples lives.
Tragedy can strike anyone of us at anytime and we are left helpless, lonely and desperate with no resources and nowhere to turn.
I started to get involved with some great folks at The Calgary Police Service and The Calgary Fire Dept and they would give me the heads up on those who has fallen between the cracks and were not being helped by any other agencies.
The CPS homicide unit has been unbelievable in looking out for victims and those left behind after some of the most horrendous murders to ever happen here in Calgary.
The CJAY Gerry Forbes Secret Wish has been able to assist the Brentwood Five families after that horrible night and work with the families to see what they needed to help them find their way after their loved ones were slain.
Through retired police friends like Rob Laird and Scott Sampson I have been directed to others who work with families in distress and been able to help fund their recovery, find a safe haven and get them back on their feet.
We helped with the other tragic story of Lukas Strasser who was killed outside a Calgary Bar after being attacked after trying to break up a fight; he was fatally assaulted and succumbed to his injuries, a special thanks to Global’s Nancy Hixt for the help on this one.
He left behind a shattered father so shaken he had nightmares every time he shut down for the day and still had to keep it together after the economic downturn after a layoff eliminated his job.
No money to pay bills, a mortgage or raise his young beautiful daughter who misses her big brother.
Then there was the story of Terry Blanchette and his two year old daughter Hailey Dunbar – Blanchette that broke the hearts of an entire country in the Crowsnest Pass, we were able to pay for lodging for the family and the funeral costs as folks from all across the country flew in to pay their last respects.
Meeting these people and looking into their eyes is the hardest part of helping, knowing I have all those great people out there on the other side of the radio who have given me so much and have never let me down makes it all worthwhile.
Another story that crushed my heart was the murders of Sara Baille and little Taliyah Marsmen is still fresh in my mind, such a tragic waste of two wonderful lives.
I have become close friends with Scott Hamilton, Sara’s uncle, after meeting him to express our condolences and get the money from our program and the GoFundMe we started and have remained friends till this day.
And now the latest, some very desperate persons steals a life - saving insulin pump from a young lad playing hockey at the Ron Ebbersen Arena last weekend.
I was fortunate enough to get a heads up on the story and myself JD Lewis and Jessie Modz who do the morning show knew we should spring into action so a young man can get his normal life back.
We called his Mom Rosalind and got the cost of the pump, $6300.00 dollars and put our team of Secret Wish volunteers on notice.
Thanks to our generous listener base, we had lots in the fund and were able to give them the cash when I met them Thursday morning at the radio station.
And what a great kid he is, an avid hockey player and now a 12 year old that can go back to playing hockey and hanging out with his buddies at the rink.
Thanks to everyone who reached out to us to help, and there were dozens of others who stepped up as well with offers of money and to donate used pumps to Josh, his mom Rosalind was overcome and exhausted from all the calls, texts and emails of support.
We are going thorough a tough time in Southern Alberta but don’t let anyone tell you we aren’t strong and compassionate no matter what the circumstances.
I am proud to see what radio and its listeners can do and one of the proudest Calgarians you will every meet, once again a tip of the hat to you and thanks for your support.