Tonight, well-known entertainer and humanitarian Tom Jackson is receiving a Community Builder Award at a sold-out gala expected to raise thousands of dollars for worthy local causes.
It's the fourth time the award has been presented to a worthy recipient at an event organized by Dan Kroffat. It also supports important local causes. This year, it will aid the food bank, the new trail, and the projects of the Rocky Mountain Rotary Club.
The meal, the venue, and the bar costs had all been covered before the tickets even went on sale in September and many others have since stepped forward as sponsors and donors.
"We've got all expenses paid, which really makes these true net dollars. So if we raise $30,000 hypothetically, all $30,000 are going to be distributed to the food bank, to the trail, and to the Rocky Mountain Rotarians."
Among the auction items up for bid is a one-of-a-kind headdress and chest plate that was donated by Sundre metal artist Ken Sandor, of Artistry in Iron studios.
Sandor created the piece specifically for the Jackson salute. He's done several tabletop versions, but never one of this magnitude.
"I'm just trying to be a good human being, just trying to give back to the world, and the community. I live in Sundre, so I'm not even in Cochrane, but I've donated many pieces to different events up here."
Sandor met Kroffat when they connected to discuss another project about two years ago.
"He inquired about some gates for the Girl Guide camp in Cochrane, and we got chatting. I saw that he was doing the Tom Jackson event, and I said, would you be interested in a donation item? And then I went crazy," he laughs."There are about 90 hours of work with that breastplate in that piece."
He admires the charity work of Jackson and several years ago volunteered to help serve a Christmas Eve turkey dinner hosted by Jackson in Calgary for homeless people. His admiration for Jackson in combination with his interest in the cultural aspect and spirituality of Indigenous people lead to the creation of the piece.
"I've always admired their dress, the buckskin leathers, and the regalia. It's just magnificent. So partly that, and partly because Tom Jackson is doing some good things in this world and that's very much me. I like to do some good stuff in this world, too, if I can, and it's good to perambulate yourself after."
He hopes the funds raised will help the causes being supported by the function. His only request is that a small portion of the funds it raises for the Rotarians will be donated to next summer's Indigenous Youth Summer Games being hosted in Eden Valley, where his son is a social worker.
His creations and restoration work can be found in and around Sundre, from the perimeter fence at the Sundre Museum to Headdresses in some private collections, and the odd 80-100-year-old log building restoration.
"It's a labour of love, something near and dear to my heart, doing artwork."
Kroffat says the main purpose of the evening isn't so much to raise funds but to recognize the humanitarian work of Jackson.
The evening kicks off at 6 p.m. in the Hall of Vision in the Cochrane RancheHouse.