REALTORS Care®: REALTORS® raise more than $26,500 for #HumboldtStrong initiative

Our top-performing REALTORS Care® article for April highlighted the incredible giving spirit of REALTORS® all across the country following the tragic bus crash in Humboldt, Saskatchewan that left 16 people dead. More than $26,500 was raised—$9,500 in just a few short hours at the Canadian Real Estate Association’s Annual General Meeting and Leadership Day—to support the first responders who were called to the scene of the crash. REALTORS® raise more than $26,500 for #HumboldtStrong initiative was published April 20.

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The tragedy in Humboldt, Saskatchewan, shook the nation. When news broke on April 6 about the lives lost after the Humboldt Broncos Junior A hockey team’s bus collided with a semi-trailer truck, resulting in 16 deaths, it quickly became a national tragedy, not just one felt in the small, prairie town.

Within two weeks, Canadians pitched in more than $15 million to help the families of the victims. NHL stars, celebrities, national and international media all came together. #HumboldtStrong was born in an effort to show the good people of Saskatchewan they were in the minds of everyone. And that they were loved.

During the Canadian Real Estate Association’s Leadership Day Summit, REALTORS® once again banded together to provide support to those who need it. An impromptu “pass the hat” fundraiser raised $9,500 in just a few short hours for the Association of Saskatchewan REALTORS’® (ASR) initiative raising money for the first responders on scene. Experts say a long-term approach will be needed for the emergency personnel who responded to the crash to prevent and address symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, according to a recent CBC article.

As of Friday, factoring in the ASR’s own $5,000 donation, the real estate community has donated more than $26,500 to the cause.

“All I can say is wow. This is beyond expectations,” said Len Wassill, a REALTOR® for 25 years and Regional Director for the Canadian Real Estate Association representing Saskatchewan. “It’s yet another example of how we live in the best country in the world.”

While they say time heals all wounds, it’s tough to imagine right now how this gaping hole in a tight-knit community will be filled.

“The first question I get is, ‘How is everyone doing?’ And to tell you the truth, we’re rattled, but we’re bouncing back,” Wassill said. He didn’t know anyone involved in the tragic crash, but there’s no such thing as six degrees of separation in Saskatchewan.

“I knew nobody, but I feel like I knew everyone on that bus. That’s how close we are,” Wassill said, mentioning he later found out the wife of the bus driver who was killed in the crash grew up around the corner from him.

He said he’s certainly felt the love from not only the real estate community—the National Association of REALTORS® also donated $1,000 to the ASR’s initiative—but from the entire country.

“For at least that one week, we Canadians were all there for each other,” he said, mentioning how the country put hockey sticks outside their front doors and wore jerseys on April 12 to show solidarity with the team. “Canadians have the biggest hearts and our province thanks you.”

Matt Day brings his experience as a nationally-recognized multimedia journalist to the Canadian Real Estate Association as a Communications Advisor. Matt provides professional writing, digital media and communications support to CREA and assists in developing engaging social media content. He is regularly featured in the CREA Café where he provides interesting and entertaining content for REALTORS® to enjoy. Matt is a professional photographer but has dreams of becoming a rock star. He also enjoys mountain biking, skiing, hiking, and using the Oxford comma.

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