Sell-out crowd supports Amherstburg Heroes annual fundraiser

 

The Amherstburg Heroes annual fundraiser was held Saturday night at the Amherstburg Knights of Columbus Hall, an event which included the annual presentation of the Robert Pillon Memorial Award. Mary Ellen Smith (second from left) was this year’s recipient. Making the presentation to Smith were Richard and Ron Pillon and Heroes co-founder Michelle Jones-Rousseau. Also pictured in the top left corner is Sgt. Mike Cox of Amherstburg police. Amherstburg police and Community Living Essex County support the Amherstburg Heroes Athletic Club program.

The Amherstburg Heroes annual fundraiser was held Saturday night at the Amherstburg Knights of Columbus Hall, an event which included the annual presentation of the Robert Pillon Memorial Award. Mary Ellen Smith (second from left) was this year’s recipient. Making the presentation to Smith were Richard and Ron Pillon and Heroes co-founder Michelle Jones-Rousseau. Also pictured in the top left corner is Sgt. Mike Cox of Amherstburg police. Amherstburg police and Community Living Essex County support the Amherstburg Heroes Athletic Club program.

By Ron Giofu

 

The annual Robert Pillon Memorial Dinner was held to a sold-out crowd Saturday night with proceeds going to benefit those with disabilities.

A total of 200 tickets were sold for the dinner at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Amherstburg with proceeds to benefit the Amherstburg Heroes Athletic Club. The club is co-sponsored by Community Living Essex County and the Amherstburg Police Service and was co-founded by Michelle Jones-Rousseau and Mike Cox.

A final fundraising tally was not available at press time but the organizers were not worried about meeting their target.

“Our goal is to raise $5,000 which I’m sure we’ll exceed,” said Jones-Rousseau. “That helps us operate for the whole year.”

The athletes supported through the program play basketball Wednesday evenings in the fall, winter and spring at General Amherst High School with baseball being played at the Libro Centre in the summer. Cox noted that some of the money is used for equipment and T-shirts while Jones-Rousseau added they also take athletes to LaSalle Vipers games, bowling, and other sporting events while also hosting a Christmas party for them.

“This year, we’ve exceeded the amount of sponsors (from past years),” she added. “We are very overwhelmed with the amount of sponsors. We are so grateful for all their continued support.”

The fundraiser saw at least 100 items donated, Cox estimated.

The event is successful every year because of the athletes and the fun they have with the club, Cox added.

“I think it’s because we keep it fun and non-competitive,” he said. “It’s just a great community effort. We keep it light. We keep it fun. Everyone has a good time.”

“We have fun doing it,” added Jones-Rousseau. “It shines through.”

Pillon’s brothers – Richard and Ron – presented the Robert Pillon Memorial Award again this year to the athlete found most dedicated to the program. This year, the award went to Mary Ellen Smith.

Pillon will also be honoured by the Miracle League of Amherstburg, Jones-Rousseau announced. Although he died before Miracle League got off the ground, it is widely assumed Pillon would have played that as well as been a part of the Heroes so the Miracle League board of directors will honour his memory by having his star added to their “Wall of Memories.”

“Even though Robert didn’t play (Miracle League), we wanted to remember him,” said Jones-Rousseau.

Cox added Amherstburg police and Community Living Essex County will again be teaming up during the Torch Run May 6. There will be an open house and barbecue at the police station starting at 12:30 p.m. until the torch arrives in Amherstburg.

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