G.L. Heritage Brewing Co.

“Lift for Lawson” raises over $40,000


By Jonathan Martin


It looks like Lawson White will get his lift.

An estimated 750 people packed shoulder-to-shoulder in G. L. Heritage Brewing Co. throughout Friday night to raise money for the three-year-old.  His parents, Ryan and Cadi White, walked away with more than $40,000 in their pockets.

Lawson was born with neonatal alloimmune thrombocytopenia, which prevented his blood from clotting and resulted in a brain hemorrhage. He has since developed cerebral palsy and is completely blind.

As Lawson got older, he got heavier and being carried up and down the stairs by hand got harder.  His parents decided it was time to install a lift in their home.  The Garage Gym, Amherstburg Chevrolet, Integrity Tool and Mold, Team D’Alimonte Royal LePage and G. L. Heritage Brewing Company joined forces to raise funds for the equipment’s construction.

Marisa Willms tries to beat the SkiErg world record of 2,000m in seven minutes and 11 seconds at G. L. Heritage Brewing Co. last Friday. Willms, who held the previous record, ended up four seconds short.

A wrench was thrown into the plan, though, when the contractor found black mould in the walls of the Whites’ house.

“When I bought the house, I looked in the attic, I looked in the basement and everything was fine,” Ryan said.  “We never would have noticed this if we hadn’t (started building) this elevator.”

Ryan said the house’s previous owners put vinyl siding over aluminum siding.  Water sneaks in behind the soffit, runs between the two sidings and leaks into the house through the sidings’ anchor holes.

The Whites said they’ve cordoned off the 30-foot construction area with plastic sheets and have had air samples taken of the site.   They said they have a specialist coming in later this week to look at thermal images of the rest of the house, in case the mould isn’t isolated to that area.

Nonetheless, they said Lawson’s lift should be installed this week.  The Whites said they had been placed on a six-month waiting list when they first scheduled the installation and would likely have to wait another six months if they were to postpone.

The mould has been cleaned up in the lift’s construction area, so they plan to move forward with the project.

They said they are “extremely grateful” to have been given the funds needed to make it happen.

Jennifer Grondin is one of the co-owners of G. L. Heritage Brewing Co., where Friday’s fundraiser was held.

“It is outstanding and amazing, the way this community has come together,” she said tearfully.

Ryan White speaks beside his wife, Cadi, at the Lift for Lawson fund raiser, held at G. L. Heritage Brewing Co. in Amherstburg on Friday, April 6, 2018. The event raised more than $40,000 for the Whites to build an elevator for their son, Lawson.

“The support and the turnout had been incredible.”

Tony Smith is one of the owners of Garage Gym.  He said Ryan and Cadi were two of his first customers and have become his personal friends.

“When you call your community to action and you get hundreds of people showing up to let (Cadi and Ryan) know how much we care about them, that’s something entirely outside of fund-raising,” he said.

Cadi burst into tears when the fund raiser’s numbers were announced.  Ryan stood, motionless, looking dazed, until his wife grabbed his shirt.

“The number of people who have offered to help us is stunning,” he said.  “Somebody hooked up air filters in our house for free to be sure we’re breathing clean air, we had somebody contact us with an offer to do our air sampling for free, we’ve been contacted by construction companies and we’ve had friends reach out to us with offers to help. It’s all so overwhelming.”

“Even just the people who sent us a ‘thinking of you’ note,” Cadi said, her voice still shaky.  “Even that level of generosity is so strength-giving.”

Despite everything, the couple said Lawson, the “light of (their) lives,” is a lucky boy, and they feel lucky too.


Local athletes push themselves to new limits as part of “Lift for Lawson”

By Jonathan Martin


As three-year-old Lawson White struggles with his physicality, local athletes have come together to push their own bodies to their limits.

Friday’s Lift for Lawson fund raiser saw members of the local Garage Gym participate in tests of strength and endurance.  For every pound raised and meter rowed, local businesses donated a dollar toward the installation of a lift in the Whites’ home.  The lift will allow Lawson, who is paralyzed, to travel up and down the stairs without the need to be carried.

Among Friday’s attendants was Windsor’s Kelly Branton, an internationally-renowned power lifter, the first Canadian to squat 900 pounds and the first Canadian to bench 600 pounds.  Branton spotted competitors during their workouts and “helped get the most out of them,” according to Garage Gym co-owner Tony Smith.

Tony Smith performs a deadlift at G. L. Heritage Brewing Company in Amherstburg on Friday, April 6, 2018. For every pound lifted, local businesses donated a dollar to the White family in support of their son, Lawson.

Another attendant of note was Marisa Willms, who currently holds seven world records on the SkiErg, an indoor machine which simulates Nordic skiing.  Friday, she tried to reclaim her world record for the 2,000m, which was snatched away by Australian skier Kate Hilliard.  Willm’s target was seven minutes and 11 seconds.  She came in four seconds short, but did reach a new personal record.

In fact, all the competitors reached personal records, according the Garage Gym.  They include Corey Vultaggio and Tony Smith, who competed in a deadlift competition, and Jeremy D’Alimonte and Winston Woolcock, who competed in a three-minute rowing competition.

Tony Smith said he is proud his gym was able to help out its members and that, really, it feels like more of a family.

Local businesses coming together to hold the “Lift for Lawson”


By Ron Giofu


A trio of local businesses are teaming up to help three-year-old Lawson White and his parents Ryan and Cadi.

Lawson was born with a condition known as neo-natal alloimmune thrombocytopenia, which caused his blood not to clot and left him with a grade four brain bleed after his birth. He has since undergone two brain surgeries, had to use a feeding tube at one point and finally came home after four months.

However, there has since been complications and hospital stays with the bleed causing developmental delays, cerebral palsy, epilepsy and complete blindness. Ryan says Lawson has been struggling as of late with vomiting and seizures.

“He’s been very sick the last six months,” he said. “Doctors don’t know what’s going on.”

Ryan and Cadi want to put in a lift for their home as Lawson is getting older and heavier and the family could use help getting Lawson to his bedroom and the bathroom.

To help the White family, the Garage Gym, Team D’Alimonte from Royal LePage Binder Real Estate and G.L. Heritage Brewing Co. are teaming up for the “Lift for Lawson” fundraiser April 6.

“They are going through tough times with Lawson and we’re trying to help with their home renovations and make life a little bit easier,” said Garage Gym co-owner Tony Smith.

Garage Gym, G.L. Heritage Brewing Co. and Team D’Alimonte real estate are teaming for the “Lift for Lawson” fundraiser April 6. From left: Winston McAllister, Marisa Willms, Corey Vultaggio, Greg Grondin, Tony Smith, Lawson, Cadi and Ryan White and Jeremy D’Alimonte.

The Friday night event will feature a three-minute rowing race between Lawson’s uncle and Ryan’s friend Jeremy D’Alimonte and Winston McAllister, deadlift and bench press competitions between Smith and Corey Vultaggio.

The third component of the event will see Garage Gym trainer and former 2000m SkiErg world record holder Marisa Willms racing in an attempt to get her world record back. The record was recently broken. SkiErg is a workout that uses a exercise machine that replicates the sport of Nordic skiing.

Smith said that G.L. Heritage Brewing Co., Team D’Alimonte and the Garage Gym will donate $1 for every meter rowed and pound lifted by the winners. Donations will also be accepted at the door that night. People will be asked to donate a minimum of $1 to enter G.L. Heritage Brewing Co. that night though additional donations are welcome.

Ryan and Cadi were two of the first members of the Garage Gym and are thankful for the support they have been receiving.

“We didn’t expect this, for sure,” said Ryan. “All of these guys are great guys. I couldn’t ask for better people in my life. The support we’ve experienced since (Lawson) has been born has been incredible.”

“We are very grateful,” Cadi added.

On April 6, doors open at 6 p.m. and the event is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.

G.L. Heritage Brewing Co. is located at 8728 Howard Ave. If people wish to donate in advance, they can do so at Garage Gym, located at the corner of Sandwich St. S. and Richmond St., or through Team D’Alimonte or the G.L. Heritage Brewing Co.

G.L. Heritage teams up with Garage Gym to raise over $42,000 rowing against cancer


By Jolene Perron


The event only took one month to plan, but its affects on the local community will last much, much longer.

“’F*** Cancer, let’s do something, something big’ was sent to Garage Gym owner Tony Smith.

Tony responded with simply OK.

“I knew right there it would be big,” explained co-owner of G.L. Heritage, Greg Grondin. “After our grand opening my father, the G of G&L, received the news that he had Stage 4 lung cancer. This is the reason for the text I sent. Tony and Dani (owners of The Garage Gym), having had cancer affect their lives, also welcomed it with open arms. I didn’t realize that with Tony and Dani comes a group of amazing generous people that came to the table.”

The Windsor-Essex Cancer Centre Foundation accepted a cheque for over $42,000 from Garage Gym and G.L Heritage Brewing Co. last Tuesday. From left: Foundation chair Stephen Roberts, Garage Gym trainer Marisa Willms, Garage Gym owners Dani and Tony Smith, G.L. Heritage Brewing Co. co-owner Greg Grondin and foundation executive director Houida Kassem.

That group, Grondin explained, included roughly 140 rowers, who have banded together to row a total of 42,195 metres in a relay race. G.L. Heritage and The Garage Gym were joined by Integrity Tool and Mold and Morton Industrial Services to put on the event.

The cheque presentation took place last Tuesday and the Windsor Cancer Centre Foundation received $42,087.25.

“We had so many raffle prizes that we had to group them together,” said Tony.

Houida Kassem, executive director at the Windsor Cancer Centre Foundation, said it was the largest donation for the foundation’s “Grow On” campaign.

“I think it’s great,” she said at the cheque presentation, telling representatives from Garage Gym and the G.L. Heritage Brewery that “you did a fantastic job.”

“I think everyone’s been touched by cancer,” said Garage Gym co-owner Dani Smith. “I think that’s why it’s been successful.”

“The call to action stirred memories of my mother’s bald head as she battled through chemo therapy,” explained administrative assistant for The Garage Gym, Kyle Bezaire. “It reminded me of  the heartache I witnessed watching Dani’s mother, Lynda, undergoing radiation treatment that prevented her from holding our two young boys when she needed nothing more than their tiny hugs. It also took me back to just a few months before picturing the look of despair in our staff member Steph’s eyes when she found out that her father, Bill’s, current bout with the disease had taken a bad turn. Mostly, it made me sad, angry, and hungry for a fight; all emotions I pride myself in transferring to positive outlets.”

Rowers teamed up in a rowing relay race Nov. 18 at G.L. Heritage, which raised $40,000 for the Windsor Cancer Centre Foundation.

Bezaire explained that the team banded together to organize an event focusing on smiles, support, love, perseverance, fitness, and beer, which he said are qualities that the loved ones they are battling for display on a daily basis.

All of the proceeds raised are going to the Windsor Cancer Centre Foundation, which ensure the funds will help their families, their friends families, and their neighbours all locally.

While the marathon itself isn’t new to The Garage Gym, who held something similar in 2015, they explained they needed something to help make it into an event and give it some foundation, rather than just having a rowing marathon.

“I think this is a fantastic cause,” explained Bezaire. “In high school, a good friend of mine was diagnosed with cancer which caused him to miss nearly our entire grade 11 year. There was a group of about 20 of us who shaved out heads in solidarity with him. At the time there wasn’t much that I thought I could do so I did whatever I could, basically meaning shave my head and say some prayers on his behalf. I feel privileged to be a part of this event and to be able to be working along side local business owners who want to do some good in their community. I think it gives a purpose beyond sustainability to the businesses and employees, such as myself. We get to see a real impact we can have in our community too.”


Young artist shows and sells her work at G.L. Heritage Brewing Co.



By Ron Giofu


A young artist has been making the rounds showing her art and that included a stop at one of Amherstburg’s newest attractions.

Madison Young was showing and selling her drawings and paintings at G.L Heritage Brewing Co. over the weekend. The 15-year-old St. Thomas of Villanova Secondary School student explained that she is getting out more and more with her art work.

“I’ve been participating in a lot of art shows lately,” Young stated. “It’s the first time at G.L. Heritage Brewing Co.”

Young said it was a positive experience as a number of people viewed her work, took business cards and bought pieces of art.

“I’d say it’s been going really well,” she commented on Saturday.

The local artist added she has stared a YouTube channel and has also branched out into other forms of social media. She has over 53,000 followers on Instagram.

Madison Young had her artwork at G.L. Heritage Brewing Co. the weekend of Aug. 19-20. The local 15-year-old will also be a part of Art by the River this weekend.

Madison Young had her artwork at G.L. Heritage Brewing Co. the weekend of Aug. 19-20. The local 15-year-old will also be a part of Art by the River this weekend.

Young will also be participating in Art by the River for the first time this weekend. She further explained she likes drawing a number of different subject matters.

The exhibition at G.L. Heritage Brewing Co. came after her parents visited the new craft distillery at 8728 Howard Ave. and approached the owners about possibly her having a show there after loving the atmosphere.

“We’re very happy to have local artists and to support friends and neighbours,” said co-owner Jenn Desjardins-Grondin.

Young added she is getting more and more people recognizing her and her work.

“It’s a great opportunity. I’m really thankful to G.L. Heritage Brewing Co. for offering me the space,” she added.

For more information on Young, visit www.diamonddraws.com. For information on the craft brewery, visit www.glheritagebrewing.ca.