Thanks to a gaming grant, they’ll have a recovery boat in the water this summer.
But it will be the donation of silent auction items, the sponsorships, and the purchase of tickets for the Legacy Water Search & Recovery’s third annual golf tournament that will allow the society to outfit that boat with all the necessary equipment to help bring closure to grieving families, said Langley’s Jim Ward.
Ward lost his nephew Brendan Wilson, and Brendan’s friend Austin Kingsborough, three years ago in a canoe accident on Nicola Lake.
Ward and other family members realized in the aftermath of that accident that there was a need for a sonar-equipped search vessel to assist families in helping locate the remains of loved ones lost in the water.
Well, three years of “tireless” work (fundraising and training) are paying off, Ward said.
“Legacy will be operational for this 2016 summer season,” he said.
A gaming grant worth close to $100,000 has allowed them to order the recovery boat, with hopes to take possession at the beginning of July.
“This is a huge jump forward,” he added. “It’s going to open the door for another fantastic year. We don’t want to be called out, but we’re glad we’re going to be ready.”
It’s hoped the June 5 golf tournament will raise more than $20,000, the amount required to finish outfitting the new boat will all the basic equipment needed for their recovery missions.
“We’ll be ready for the families, when they need us,” Ward said.
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CAPTION: Anna and Jim Ward are Langley members of Legacy Water Search & Rescue.
The golf tournament, now in its third year, has raised much of the society’s money in past for training and equipment purchases (although they’ve also had successes with a Valentine’s and Halloween dance). Last year’s golf tourney raised $13,500, and the inaugural event raised $19,000. Ward holds hopes this time around they’ll top $25,000, in part thanks to their silent and live auctions.
“We are still in need of more search equipment, not to mention ongoing costs to conduct searches,” said Ward’s wife Anna. “We need you. The success of this fundraiser is directly related to sponsors, participants, and donors.”
Participating in both the day of golf and dinner costs $160, with dinner-only tickets costing $50.
The golf tournament is being held Sunday, June 5 at Newlands Golf & Country Club starting at 11 a.m., with a tailgate lunch.
To register as a golfer, to volunteer as a sponsor, or to donate silent auction items to the memorial tournament, people can call Jim or Anna Ward at 604-809-7244. For more information, people can visit: LegacyWaterSearch.com.
Once the customized 22-foot aluminium Kingfisher boat is fully outfitted, complete with items such as a winch system, underwater remote vehicle, side scan, sonar system, generator, GPS, and chart plotter, then Ward said the team will turn its efforts to fundraising for a self-contained command vehicle that can haul the boat and equipment, serve as a command centre on scene, and provide sleeping accommodations on scene for a few members.