By Michael Christianson
Country Blend came out to Our Savior Lutheran Church on Sunday for an evening of classic country dancing tunes and gospel music.
The Southern Manitoba group consisting of Dianne Lodge, Evelyn Ramage, Gordy “Crazy Fingers” Lindquist, Henry Martens, and Cyn Lodge put on a show that delighted the audience and helped to raise funds for a good cause.
“The fundraiser is for the Gardner family,” said Pastor James Wood. “They have three autistic children. The oldest is nineteen and the two boys, twins, are four and of course that’s quite a burden just trying to figure out behaviorisms and how all that happens and what do you do.”
Members of the parish helped to find The Son-Rise Program for the Gardner family which is held at the Autism Treatment Center if American in Sheffield, Massachusetts.
“It’s down in the states so of course it’s expensive,” said Wood. “You have to fly there, you have to spend a week there, it’s intensive. My understanding of is it teaches teachers and parents working with these kids to connect with the kids first and once the connections are made then the information and learning can happen but until then they’re not on the same page as you are and they’re just wound up and distracted and until you can somehow break into that world you are fighting a losing battle.”
Wood hopes the night brought in around two thousand dollars. Over a month ago the parish held a pulled pork dinner fundraiser that brought in almost six thousand dollars and with the Country Blend show Wood thinks they will have raised enough.
“The benefit is it comes back to Dryden with her, she teaches it to the TAs,” said Wood. “I know they already have a special learning room for her boys at St. Joe’s. So they are putting into practice some of those tools that she is given and it will help those teachers aids and teachers working with autistic children no matter whose they are.”
The church was full for the concert and Pastor Wood was more than happy with the reaction.
“I think it’s wonderful to have so many people come out because they like country music,” said Wood. “But also because I know a lot of them want to support Liz and this whole autism training.”