Langley Good Times Cruise-in: Charities get boost from car show

Once the last car has driven off into the sunset, the most important part of the Langley Good Times Cruise-in is upon the organizers: handing out funds.

Every year, the volunteer-run and organized Cruise-in distributes tens of thousands of dollars to charities, most of them based in Langley.

In 2013, the Cruise-in donated $54,000 that came from registrations, raffle tickets, and In-N-Out Burger meals to a list of 15 charities.

Core charities this year and last include the Valley Therapeutic Equestrian Association, PuCKS, the Boys and Girls Club, and the Langley Memorial Hospital Auxiliary. Core charities this year will also include the Langley Community Services Society and the Douglas Community Elementary Society.

The newcomer to this year’s list is a charity that was born from the tragedy that claimed the lives of two Langley teenagers.

On April 20, 2013, Austin Kingsborough, 17, and Brendan Daniel Wilson, 18, disappeared while on a trip to a family cabin on the shores of Nicola Lake. A storm had apparently swamped their canoe.

The families were traumatized, both by the disappearance, and by the lengthy delay in locating the bodies of the young men. It wasn’t until May 6 that Gene and Sandy Ralston, a couple from the United States, managed to locate Kingsborough and Wilson. The Americans used a sidescan sonar device.

That inspired the families and close friends of the two young men to begin a similar project in Canada, to help the victims of similar boating and swimming accidents.

The Legacy Water Search and Recovery Society has been fundraising and training to set up their own sonar and remote operated vehicle (ROV) system.

Society vice president Jim Ward said the total costs are around $350,000 for all the equipment and a specially outfitted boat to hold it.

They have already acquired an ROV from Seamor Marine of Nanaimo, and the firm is allowing them to pay for it in installments.

The ROV will cost $80,000, and the sidescan sonar will eventually cost close to $60,000. Both of those prices are excellent deals, said Ward.

Money from the Cruise-in will help them get towards their goals.

“The funds will go directly to the purchase of equipment,” said Ward, or to training.

Training is tricky – operating an underwater ROV or towed sidescan sonar requires a lot of experience and knowledge in specialized software.

The core of the society are all people who knew Kingsborough and Wilson, or who knew other people who died in similar tragedies, noted Ward.

“It’s kind of unbelievable how many people have been touched by tragedies that are so close,” Ward said.

Members of the society will be out helping with parking at this year’s Cruise-In, and they’ll have a booth near the Frosting Cupcakery on Fraser Highway, where they’ll have their remote operated vehicle on display.

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