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Sizzling surprise

BBQ FOR YOU: Legion member Ruth Tredgett, left, and Walmart manager Marco Costa watch as legion member Jane Lowe receives a new barbecue. The legion's grill, along with a lawnmower, was stolen recently. Vaughan Fire and Rescue helped in getting the new equipment. (Philip Alves/Vaughan Today)

Jane Lowe turned the corner from one Walmart store aisle to another.

She stopped short when she saw a new barbecue and lawnmower in front of her.

Both were gifts for Lowe’s Royal Canadian Legion Branch 414.

“I’m thrilled to bits,” Lowe said.

Lowe and four others from the legion arrived at the Walmart at Bathurst and Centre Sts. last Tuesday morning without knowing why they were there. Vaughan Fire and Rescue, wanting to surprise them, had asked them to come with no explanation given.

“I can’t thank you enough,” Lowe said. “I really appreciate it.”

The legion branch recently had its old barbecue and lawnmower stolen from a shed.

When Fire Chief Greg Senay heard of the legion’s plight the week before, he was moved to action.

“We made a couple of calls,” he said. “One of our corporate sponsors, Walmart, and Marco (Costa), the manager, stepped up to the plate.”

Walmart jumped at the chance to help, Costa said.

“(Vaughan Fire) asked us, ‘Would you rather do the barbecue or the lawnmower?’ ” he said. “We said we’d do both.”

It would have taken the branch almost a year to raise the money needed to replace the stolen property, the legion’s Leonard Garbutt said.

“(The gift) means we can invite the veterans from Sunnybrook again this year,” Lowe said. “We’ve done that every year and given them a barbecue.”

To top the day off, Senay said, Vaughan Fire and Rescue had a couple of people working to make the shed a little more secure.

“It’s a happy ending,” the chief said.

Vaughan Today
In print: May 1, 2009, page 10
Online: May 6, 2009 [link]