Thanks to bidders, donors and extra-strength volunteers, the Masset Haida Lions Club telethon raised a grand total of $17,048 on Saturday.
Broadcast on live TV and now streaming on Facebook, the telethon raises thousands of dollars each year for community causes such as new equipment at the Northern Haida Gwaii Hospital, travel support for youth sports teams in the north end, and help for families facing urgent medical or other emergency needs.
“All the money raised on the island stays on the island,” said Joshua Smith, president of the Masset Haida Lions Club, which most recently helped the Gudangaay Tlaats’gaa Naay cross-country running team fly to provincials in Nanaimo.
About the only off-island exception is the Lions’ long-standing support for the Easter Seal House in Vancouver, where Haida Gwaii residents can stay while supporting loved ones in the city for medical care.
On Saturday, Smith also announced the Lions’ Citizen of the Year — long-time volunteer and Corporal Connor Miller. Besides providing a big help to the Masset Legion, Smith noted that Miller went out of his way to rescue a wild calf stuck in the mud near Ops last year.
“Holy cow,” said Miller on receiving the award.
With jokes from the likes of naughty nonnis Sphenia Jones and Elsie Bramble, an in-person loonie/toonie auction, and a visit from Santa Claus, the top auction items up for bid at this year’s telethon included a mask carved by Leo Gagnon, a Haida art print by Frank Williams, a $700 halibut reel donated by Escott Sportfishing, a fishing charter donated by Wiah Point Adventures, a recliner from MacKenzie Furniture, a kayak trip with Budgies Backpackers and Sighteers, plus a return trip for two to Vancouver donated by Pacific Coastal Airlines.