HEMMINGFORD, Que. - The Alain Fortin Foundation is something Cheryl Fortin wishes would never have to have been established, but it's an organization that's done much good in the Hemmingford community for the past 15 years.
The foundation was named after her brother-in-law whose life was lost in a tragic boating accident on Lake Champlain in 1995. However, rather than let his memory fade, his family decided to establish the foundation with a purpose of helping his hometown of Hemmingford.
"Alain was very interested in helping the young and the old," said Fortin. "The extremes of the community. The year before he died, he was actually standing outside - and it was one of the worst winter days - ringing the bell for the Salvation Army in Hemmingford on a blustery, wintry day. We want to continue to carry forward things he's done in the past like that."
The main way Alain's family has been able to do that has been to host a special golf tournament each year at the Hemmingford Golf Club. The one-club tournament - which challenges golfers to use one golf club throughout the 18-hole match - was the kind of game Alain enjoyed, said Fortin.
"Alain would get together with friends and they would play with one club the entire game and see how well they did," recalled Fortin. "It was just for fun."
"I've played it that way a few times and it's definitely a challenge," she added, laughing.
Over the past fourteen years, the Alain Fortin Foundation has raised nearly $60,000 for a variety of causes. The tournament has helped Hemmingford's Christmas Basket Fund, which supplies underprivileged families in the community with food and gifts during the holidays, and even helped the "Don't Sit Home Alone Christmas Eve Supper" at the Witsend Resto Pub provide nearly 40 people with a Christmas dinner and gifts. The generosity of the foundation is also felt year-round in donations made to local schools, sports teams, and the Guides and Scouts of Hemmingford.