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Christmas Mini Banner Saugeen Shores

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Acuren Womens Centre FundraiserAcuren Nuclear Services Inc. hosted a fundraising event for Owen Sound’s Women’s Centre Grey and Bruce at Highview Food & Drink January 25. From left Mike Benham, Acuren General Manager; Denise Freeman, Board Chair of the Women’s Centre; Mike Rencheck, Bruce Power President and CEO; and Mike Smith Mayor of Saugeen Shores.

Hub Staff

To highlight ten years of work in the Saugeen Shores community Acuren Nuclear Services Inc. hosted a fundraising event in support of the Women’s Centre Grey and Bruce at Southampton’s Highview Food & Drink, January 25. The event raised approximately $8,000 for the Owen Sound facility.

Acuren General Manager Mike Benham noted the importance of supporting the cause as well as its relevance in today’s world. “We decided that we wanted to pick one organization and really do well by them,” said Benham who alluded to Acuren Engineering Manager Maura McDonald as the driving force behind the scenes of the event. “The stars align... you don't hear a word before then, all of a sudden you’re hearing it every day. I would say that’s a little bit the way it was with this event and this charitable organization.”

He went on to say that Acuren has decided to support Owen Sound’s Women’s Centre annually and added, “I think it’s an organization where there’s a lot of work to be done and I think they're doing a lot of the dirty work and really getting their hands into the problem and making some real change in people’s lives.”

Benham told the full restaurant that he personally knows the effects that women’s shelters have on the lives of the women and families they assist and told the story of a young mother he knew using a shelter service after leaving her husband when she was 19 years old. He noted that a few short years later that woman is writing her PhD. “It drew me a little closer of the realities of what’s going on in Owen Sound. As our organization has grown and we’ve kind of gotten into a position where we’re able to be leaders in the community opposed to just another small business in the community.”

President and CEO of Bruce Power Mike Recheck said he was happy that a supplier, and through donations from other energy sector business, was doing something to support the community. “Sometimes as competitors and sometimes as partners that’s really what we’re after when we talk creating an energy cluster or a group of companies here where we have compet-a-mates, sometimes they're competing for a contract and other times they're working together to do good things both in business and in the community.”

Rencheck proceeded to make a personal donation on behalf of himself and his wife Carol to Keynote Speaker Denise Freeman, Board Chair of the Women’s Centre.

Freeman told the room her own powerful story of the cycle of abuse, her struggle with addictions, and her recovery. She spoke about how she, who is a nurse herself, brought her children to a shelter many years ago and how the shelter impacted her life. Her story was met with a standing ovation

Upon receiving the donation, Freeman said it is exactly what the women’s shelter needs. “We’re so underfunded that the staff are busy doing their job and we can’t do fundraising...so for someone to come up with this idea, a third party, organizing it all and has the generosity of her heart and her spirit to come up with this concept.”

Freeman said that the Owen Sound facility has had a great year, as Sleep Country Canada recently donated all the mattresses to the shelter. “We’ve had a couple of very generous things happen but it’s never enough... any situation like this is always going to be underfunded.” She went on to say that there are two important aspects, one is funding and the other is awareness. “If you hear something on the street or something in the workplace that just feels a little off, somehow discreetly people will find a way to the shelter so awareness is a hugely important aspect and these events are perfect for that.”

Freeman addressed the awareness that has arisen as a result of the #metoo campaign, and how the subject of abuse and the silence that usually surrounds it has created a needed discussion in today’s world.

“Anyone can find themselves in a position that they didn't expect to be in and abuse has absolutely no boundaries...you also have up in our region distance and isolation and the terrible fear that some families must have,” she said. “I could walk to the shelter when I needed it, they can't and on top of that they have to go home to a small community where not everybody's going to love what they did in leaving,” she added.

“So I think the more communities embrace it and talk about it, that really capable women find themselves in a difficult situation, can break the cycle and they can break it,” Freeman said.

Denise Freeman keynoteDenise Freeman, Board Chair of the Women’s Centre addresses attendees during her keynote address.

Denise Freeman Mike RencheckBruce Power President and CEO Mike Rencheck gave a personal donation on behalf of he and his wife Carol to Denise Freeman to go towards the Women’s Centre.

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