Jim Ward and his older sister Connie have long since loved hosting dances. Any excuse to bring friends together and party the night away, socialize, and have a good time.
But the Langley siblings now have another reason to host a dance, beyond letting loose with 200 of their closest friends.
Theyâ€™re doing it to help raise money for the Legacy Water Search and Recovery Society, which came out of the tragic death of Connieâ€™s son Brendan Wilson and his friend Austin Kingsborough.
The boys were at the family cabin for a few days. On April 21, 2013 went on a canoe trip on Nicola Lake, and for unknown reasons they never returned.
A massive search ensued involving Mounties, search and rescuers, friends, and family. But the boys were never found.
It was weeks later, and thanks to the recovery efforts of an Idaho searcher and his sonar equipment â€“ which could probe deeper than anything available in B.C. â€“ that their bodies were eventually located in 75 feet of water, at the edge of the bay near the Wilsonâ€™s cabin.
Since then, family and friends have been working tirelessly to form a B.C. society and raise money to purchase a boat, sonar equipment and a remote operated vehicle that can help families like their recover drowning victims.
â€œOften victims of drowning are never located, and police are unable to resolve the case successfully,â€ Ward explained from his automotive shop in Langley on Friday.
To make that goal possible, Legacy must raise almost $400,000 to purchase the equipment, he elaborated. To do that, the society has applied for grants, a gaming licence, and is hosting a series of fundraisers â€“ two dances and one golf tournament â€“ which they hope will become annual events.
Theyâ€™re still far away from reaching the ultimate total, Ward said, but chipping away at it bit by bit. For instance, he expressed gratitude that the Langley Good Times Cruise-In had selected Legacy as one of the charities of choice from the 2013 fundraising car show. While theyâ€™re not sure how much Cruise-In will be giving them, itâ€™s support from other local organizations like this that helps spread the word about their efforts.
An inaugural Valentineâ€™s dance for Legacy also helped raise $3,500. With the addition of more people and silent auction items to the upcoming Halloween dance and costume party, Ward said theyâ€™re hoping to double the amount raised in February.
The Halloween dance is being held Saturday, Oct. 25, from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. at the Port Kell Hall, 18918 88th Ave., in Surrey.
Tickets are $25 each and must be purchased in advance at www.legacywatersearch.com or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Anna 604-809-7244.
â€œMy sister and I have always done dances, years ago. My sister and her sorority group took over the dances when I stepped back for a while. Weâ€™re just continuing that family tradition, if you will. The dance is just something where people can go out and have fun,â€ Ward said. â€œThe bonus is theyâ€™re also able to help bring closure to families during an emotionally devastating time.â€