Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Bulldogs championship jersey more cherished after fire

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HIS Churchill Bulldogs jersey, special already because he won the provincial high school football ANAVETS Bowl championship in it last November, just became an even more prized possession for receiver Paul Childs.

A fire Jan. 7 destroyed his family's Transcona home. The 17-year-old and his family lost nearly everything, including the football keepsakes he collected over his career so far. His provincial team jerseys, medals, trophies and the cleats and helmet he wore in the championship are gone. But in an amazing stroke of luck, Childs' championship jersey survived the flames.

"It was the one I wore in the championship game and I had left in my mom's car after a team picture. I usually tend to leave things around and my mom is notorious for not cleaning her car so there it was," said Childs, a 6-foot-4, 205-pound Grade 12 student at Churchill who is the top recruit of University of Manitoba Bisons football coach Brian Dobie to his program for this fall. He said his best friend Tom Howes had driven his mom's car to the house and had found it in the car.

"It's so awesome, all the help and support that we've been getting from people. It's completely overwhelming. It's hard to put into words just how much we appreciate everything that people are doing for us."

His high school championship medal was lost but Henry Hildebrand, vice-president of ANAVETS Assiniboia Unit #283 and chairman of the ANAVETS Bowl committee, had one custom-made and brought it to Childs at Churchill on Monday.

"I was completely stunned by that and so happy," said Childs.

Childs has bravely been counting his blessings. All of the people in his family were out that day, at work or school, so they were safe. While the family lost their beloved four-year-old golden retriever-Labrador dog Dutchess, their four-year-old cat Kiddy was saved by courageous neighbour Holly Young who had seen the flames and kicked in a door in case someone was inside.

He said he found the Bulldogs replica jersey made for Dutchess by a family friend and gave it to his stepdad.

"These are the times in your life that you find out who your true friends are and who is really there for you," Childs said, noting his girlfriend Mandy Krueger leads a long list of people he said he will spend a long time thanking.

A trust fund for the family has been started at the Royal Bank at 669 Osborne St.

ashley.prest@freepress.mb.ca

 

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 14, 2009 C4

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