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Station 4 (Field) fire fighters Michel Labelle and Michel Jarbeau, Paul Fisher, aged 10, who volunteers when he can, and Field Fire Chief Denis A. Labelle present a $14,162 cheque to Julie Bertram, Chair of Raise the Roof committee, and Ward 5 Councillor and fire fighter Chris Fisher on April 7. The money was raised through a benefit concert by French country singer Irvin Blais in March.
by Isabel Mosseler
Country sensation Irvin Blais nearly raised the roof on the SF Complex during his sold-out show on March 23, when he played to 450 fans, and he will now help “raise the roof” over the Field ice rink thanks to profits from that show.
At $45 per ticket, the show was quickly sold out as fans of the Québec-based singer/songwriter came from all over to see him live. It was the Field Volunteer Fire Fighters who put on the event as a fundraiser for the “Raise the Roof” campaign, and it paid off. Indeed, they made a whopping $14,162.66 in profit, which they presented on April 7 to the Raise the Roof organizers.
Irvin Blais, who originates from Gaspé, is a favourite with country music lovers in Quebec, New Brunswick and northern Ontario. He has a large following in Hearst, Kapuskasing, Greater Sudbury, New Liskeard and West Nipissing. The idea to bring him to SF came from volunteer fire fighter Michel Jarbeau, and the association thought it was risky at first. After Jarbeau contacted Blais through social media, he and Field Fire Chief Denis A. Labelle went to see him in Temiskaming last Fall. “We told him the story of our village, and he was really moved,” recounts Labelle. The singer immediately agreed to come out and do a fundraising show.
The relationship continued to develop when Blais arrived in West Nipissing and spent the day in Field, visiting the community with the fire fighters and learning about their history. Blais says he was so impressed with the resilience of Field residents after all they had gone through, he was writing a song about the community, which will be featured on his next album.
Irvin Blais (left) was happy to lend his talent to help the community of Field, after hearing about their struggles through local fire fighters Michel Jarbeau and Denis A. Labelle.