By day, they’re realtors. But during much of their spare time Langley twins Jamie and Chris Ruscheinski are Good Samaritans.
It’s their volunteer endeavour – an undertaking born out of the loss of their mother and a close friend to cancer – that earned this local duo accolades Sunday night by the B.C. Country Music Association.
Ruscheinski were honoured for the work they’ve done four years running in organizing and hosting the Gone Country: Here for the Cure annual cancer-related music fundraiser in Cloverdale each year.
To date the twins have raised close to $2 million for cancer-related causes, and that accomplishment was honoured not only with an award, but a standing ovation at Sunday’s event.
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They have purchased research and early-detection equipment for the BC Cancer Foundation, renovated part of the Easter Seal House in Vancouver, donated to the Canadian Cancer Society, BC Children’s Hospital, and Canuck Place Children’s Hospice in Vancouver.
“This year’s proceeds raised from Gone Country will be supporting Canuck Place Children’s Hospice in Abbotsford. We are helping to build a music room/recording studio that children can play in and record themselves singing and performing. When we toured Canuck Place with our team this room stood out to all of us,” Chris explained.
“ Karina from Canuck Place explained that this is not only a fun room for the children, but a way for the childs parents to keep a recording of their son or daughters voice forever. We felt that this is a room that our donation would pay off for many years to come. We are meeting with their team this week to start purchasing equipment and hope to have it ready just in time for Christmas.”
They even set up a scholarship fund at UBC in honour of their friend, Shaun Gauthier, that will help a student studying oncology.
“We are very excited to win this award and have the opportunity to speak about our cause in front of so many talented musicians and artists, many who have donated their time and talent at previous Gone County events,” said Chris.
“This award belongs to all of the volunteers who pour their heart and sole into the event, we are just the two idiots that get the honour to have our names on it.”
“It was pretty cool… receiving the award from Karen Lee Batten and Dave Hartney who have performed at all four of our events. The shout out from Aaron Pritchett when he received an award was icing on the cake,” Chris told the Langley Advance.
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Their work doesn’t end there. They’re already planning for next year’s Gone Country, set for June 22. Plus, they have another fundraiser on Saturday, Nov. 19. Rad Santa is a free family photo session with Ol’ St. Nick at Potters. It’s by donation, and pets photos will be taken from 10 to 11 a.m. and family pics from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The Langley pair beat out another Langleyite, Chad Brownlee for the humanitarian award, but that doesn’t mean Brownlee walked away empty handed.
Brownlee earned himself some bling at the BCCMAs, winning male vocalist of the year, as well as album of the year for Heart on Fire.
Brownlee wasn’t able to attend the awards ceremony, but he expressed his thanks with a funny-face picture on Facebook.
“Thanks from Nashville!!! Love you all!!!”
Earlier this month, Brownlee released a single, Somethin’ We Shouldn’t Do, and he’s in the midst of preparing for a mash-up tour in January with fellow country music star Tim Hicks and his Shake These Walls Tour will collide with Brownlee’s Hearts on Fire Tour.
In the meantime, Brownlee’s friend, golf partner, and frequent competition contender Dallas Smith – also of Langley – won again on Sunday.
This time out, Smith earned entertainer of the year.
Smith just announced earlier this month that he’s going to be on the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train this year with the Odds. He’s asking his local fans to check the schedule and come out for the show – bringing with them a healthy donation of food for the local food banks.
Langley’s Stephano Barberis also came home with an award for video work he did for Smith and Brownlee.
There were a number of Langley individuals who were nominated, but did not walk away with awards from the Hard Rock Casino in Coquitlam this weekend.
On that list were Robyn & Ryleigh, Karen Lee Batten, Me and Mae, Mitch Merrett, Geoff Dueck, Shylo Sharity, and Gene Greenwood (for Robyn & Ryleigh video).