Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Inspirational

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Kirby and Marie Fontaine were lucky when they won a $50-million Lotto Max in 2009, but the real winners were Manitobans. They have been models of grace, humility and kindness as they quietly go around sharing their wealth and making a difference in ways small and large.

Their latest act of charity occurred after Christmas when they showed up at the offices of the Christmas Cheer Board with a cheque for $50,000 to help cover the board's seasonal deficit. Typically, the couple didn't hang around for a photo-op or media interviews. They're not motivated by the need for attention, but by a genuine desire to help.

The Fontaines still spend most of their time on Sagkeeng First Nation living in an old trailer, although they have a new house in Winnipeg. They've hired people to repair the local church, build a fence and do other jobs on the reserve, while establishing a website with the goal of helping other reserves in the country.

Manitoba has many philanthropists -- the Fraser Institute recently named Manitoba the most generous place in Canada for the 14th year in a row -- but not too many like the Fontaines.

As the new year gets underway, may they be an inspiration for everyone to consider what they can give to make the world a better place. Not everyone has money to spare, but there are many worthy projects that only require the priceless commodities of time and energy.

Editorials are the consensus view of the Winnipeg Free Press’ editorial board, comprising Catherine Mitchell, David O’Brien, Shannon Sampert, and Paul Samyn.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 2, 2013 A10

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