Community support “overwhelming” for Knight to Save the Hall

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Organizers of “Knight to Save the Hall” were hoping for a strong turnout and that is exactly what they got.

The event drew a capacity crowd of 450 people to the McGregor Knights of Columbus Hall Saturday night with all proceeds going to assist the hall in staying open.

“It’s an amazing event where we sold out,” said Robin Beaune, Grand Knight of McGregor Knights of Columbus Council #2844. “We had 50-60 people we  had to turn away. We didn’t have the room.”

Beaune said the McGregor community turned out in force, including people from both the Amherstburg and Essex sides of the hamlet. He credited event organizers Evan and Laura Belanger for putting the night together, saying it wouldn’t have been what it was without them.

While there was a large contingent of McGregor K of C members at the fundraiser, a lot of other people turned out just to support keeping the McGregor K of C Hall open.

“You can see it’s part of the community,” said Beaune.

A final total of what was raised was not available as of press time but organizers and volunteers who worked the event believed they had surpassed the $10,000 mark with some estimates as high as $15,000.

 

Columbian Club board president Dale Martin (centre) accepts a $3,500 cheque from the Squirettes of Mary Saturday night during the “Knight to Save the Hall” fundraiser in McGregor. A final total was not available at press time but all proceeds go towards operating the McGregor K of C Hall. At far right is McGregor Knights of Columbus Council 2844 Grand Knight Robin Beaune.

Columbian Club board president Dale Martin (centre) accepts a $3,500 cheque from the Squirettes of Mary Saturday night during the “Knight to Save the Hall” fundraiser in McGregor. A final total was not available at press time but all proceeds go towards operating the McGregor K of C Hall. At far right is McGregor Knights of Columbus Council 2844 Grand Knight Robin Beaune.

“This is going to help us tremendously financially,” said Beaune.

Dale Martin, president of the Columbian Club board that manages the hall, said a lot of the feedback he heard, including from many past Grand Knights, was that the fundraiser recreated old times at the hall.

“They are saying this was the way it used to be,” said Martin.

Martin was pleased with the turnout, noting the hall has been suffering in recent years due to such things as a decline in weddings and parties.   He also noted the fundraiser brought more than just members together.

“(The hall) is a big part of the McGregor/Amherstburg/Essex community,” said Martin. “The community is behind us. It’s truly overwhelming.”

The current effort is to preserve the hall for the children and grandchildren of the community, he continued.

The “Knight to Save the Hall” was a volunteer-driven event, both noted. Beaune said they try not to turn anyone away who wants to volunteer, adding if volunteers aren’t needed for one event they can be lined up for the next one.

“We’ve got some volunteers who want to help keep this place going,” added Martin.

Beaune said the Knights of Columbus Council #2844 and the Columbian Club are working together better than ever. Support has also been found with various other groups including the CWL, Squires, Squirettes and the Ladies Auxiliary. The Squirettes made a donation of $3,500 during the Saturday night event.

Laura Belanger said the “Knight to Save the Hall” turned out exactly as she’d hoped.

“I’m really happy with how things turned out,” she said. “It’s amazing the amount of support we’ve gotten in the community for this.”

Laura noted the co-operation of all groups that helped put the fundraiser on with that exemplifying the community as a whole.

“It’s what McGregor should be,” she said. “It’s why our village is a community.”

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