August 23, 2017


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Baby, it's warm inside their hearts

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 14/12/2009 (2808 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

A couple of weeks ago, 13-year-old Jenna Duke was out shopping for a new set of goalie pads.

A stranger casually approached her in the aisle of Royal Sports.

Jenna Duke shows off her new goalie pads, paid for by $50-million  lottery winner Kirby Fontaine during a chance encounter at a city sports store.

Jenna Duke shows off her new goalie pads, paid for by $50-million lottery winner Kirby Fontaine during a chance encounter at a city sports store.

"At first I thought 'Who is this strange man talking to my daughter?' " Regina Parker said Monday.

"I moved a little closer. We had no idea who he was."

Jenna was wearing her ringette Provincial Champs 2009 jacket. It has her name on the arm.

The man called her Jenna as he continued to chat her up.

By now, mom and dad were getting worried. They moved towards the stranger and their child, the goalie for the Rural Municipality of MacDonald Wild Fire tweens team. He told the family his name.

"It was like he was shy," says Parker. "He said 'Uh, my name is Kirby Fontaine and I, uh, won some money.' "

As most of the country knows, Kirby and Marie Fontaine won more than some money. They won $50 million and have been busy using it to improve the lives of people in their community.

Apparently they've moved out of their postal code to share the wealth.

Jenna's mom continues the story.

"He asked if we'd mind if he bought the goalie pads."

The nonplussed couple didn't know what to say.

"They were $700. These are good pads. He told us we made a good choice."

They agreed to let him make the purchase. They stress they had the money to do it themselves. It's just that Kirby has more.

"He had a whole pile of stuff on the counter. He was shopping with his nephew," says Parker. "He told the guy to just put it on his bill."

Jenna was so tickled she asked Kirby to autograph the pads.

"He asked her to tell him how her next game went. They won, so she sent him a note (to an address he had provided). We don't know if he got it."

Kirby, if you're reading this, Jenna Duke is a winner. And so are you for helping out a young athlete.

"ö "ö "ö

In other news of generosity: Free Press staffers got their Christmas present this week. It's a token amount but, in this economy, we're glad the bosses still talk to us.

One of the guys in the press room called me to say he and a number of his buddies decided someone else needed the gift cards more than they did.

The Safeway gift cards are on their way to Pine Falls. The locked-out Tembec workers will be getting a little more help from strangers.

I'm proud of the guys and hope they're not the only ones to make the gesture.

"ö "ö "ö

Finally, a little good news for Siloam Mission.

The Grade 5 students at Transcona's Radisson School have been working like elves to make Christmas brighter for the homeless and the hungry.

As part of a year-long project, they've held bake sales, sold healthy snacks and are holding a luncheon for the school staff.

Everyone in the class -- and remember they're 11 and 12-year-olds -- have learned how to knit or crochet. Scarves for Siloam will also go into the boxes.

Their teacher is showing the kids there are needy people in our city. The other lesson she's teaching is that, no matter how small you are, you can make a big difference. And if that's not the spirit of Christmas I don't know what is.


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