Claresholm charity hockey game raises big funds for local amputee

LETHBRIDGE- It’s the kind of story that makes you want to pack up your things and move to a smaller community. 

The Town of Claresholm came together Saturday night to support a local man who recently lost his leg in a work place accident. 

Around a thousand people packed that town’s arena for the annual Fire VS Police ‘Guns N Hoses’ hockey game to raise around $50, 000 for Jason Hemmaway and his family. 

The father of three had part of his leg amputated earlier this month as a result of a work place accident late November.  

He’s currently recovering at a Calgary hospital and is yet to face more surgeries. 

According to his wife, Debra Hemmaway, he wished nothing more than to be able to attend the game. 

“He would love to be here.  I’m actually texting him back and forth telling him the score and everything, so yes if he could be here he would be,” she adds. 

Jason is a volunteer fire fighter and involved in a number of organizations in the community. 

Good friend and an organizer of the game, Kirby Watt tells Global News the decision to make him this year’s fire and police charity game recipient was a no brainer. 

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“He’s given the community so much of himself we thought this would be the way to give back to him.  He’s so involved in so many organizations in town and he’s always the first there to do stuff,” he adds. 

Owner of the Claresholm Arena, Kris Cope describes the atmosphere inside the arena at Saturday’s game nothing less than electric. 

“I haven’t seen this rink this full in ten years probably,” he says. 

The game also featured a silent auction with so many items being donated, organizers had to start turning some things away. 

Family friend, Frank Keller, says it’s not surprising to see so much support from the Claresholm community. 

“It’s like your own family.  Like we’re such a close knit community that it just feels like a part of you when it happens,” he says. 

The money raised will help pay for medical, travel and rehabilitation expenses but for the family the support is what makes all the difference. 

“I just feel happiness, just joy that everyone comes out and comes together and just having fun,” Debra says. 

There’s an account set up at the Claresholm Credit Union in Jason Hemmaway’s name for anyone looking to donate. 

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