By Kevin J. Sabo
For the Advance
An organization dedicated to helping military veterans and first responders is getting a financial boost thanks to a local Castor youth.
The Hoggin Alberta Veterans Ranch, a subsidiary of the Calgary Veteran’s Foodbank, is receiving an $1100 donation from ten-year-old Ocean Scheerschmidt, after she fundraised for her recent tenth birthday.
Ocean and her dad, Brad, decided to do the fundraising after Brad played a song called Wrong Side of Heaven, by the band Five-Finger Death-Punch, which is dedicated to military veterans.
“My dad was playing a song called Wrong Side of Heaven,” said Ocean.
“I told him that it made me feel like I was going to cry, and he told me the real truth about it.”
According to Brad, “It’s a song about veterans, and veterans not getting help, their situation with (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and other mental disorders.”
“I played the song, and she did cry after I told her what the song is about,” Brad continued.
“I said, how about we donate some money to the veterans for your birthday?”
Ocean agreed, however that donation turned into a fundraising effort.
Brad put a post on Facebook asking for donations, and young Ocean did up a poster and a money jar which were placed at Castor Value Drugmart.
“Later it came to me, why don’t we raise money for Hoggin Alberta, the Hoggin Alberta Veterans Ranch,” said Brad.
“They give veterans and first responders a place to go to get away and de-stress.”
In addition to the fundraising online and, in the store, Ocean had another surprise. With no prodding from her parents, when it came time for her birthday, she asked that her friends donate to the cause instead of getting her presents.
“I was surprised when she told me that,” said Brad.
“The whole thing is overwhelming, really. It’s all part of trying to teach her the right thing, the good thing to do.”
The Scheerschmidt family will be presenting the donation to the Hoggin Veteran’s Ranch over the May long-weekend, and the poster Ocean made will be prominently displayed in the ranch’s workshop.