Both cash and in-kind donations are starting to roll in to help repair the Cochrane Museum after a flooding Bighill Creek caused extensive damage to their basement, contents and its landscaping.
About $12,000 in cash donations were received by the Cochrane Historical and Archival Preservation Society (CHAPS) during their annual spring fundraising dinner Apr. 6. That includes a $10,000 donation from the Totem Charitable Foundation presented by Mayor Jeff Genung on behalf of the foundation.
Admitting he felt a bit awkward to be presenting money he had no hand in raising, Genung praised the Totem Foundations and others who have stepped forward to help CHAPS. He says it speaks highly of the Cochrane community spirit.
"You're not alone is the short story," Genung told the packed house. "It's Cochrane again rising up and going back to work, growing efforts and getting things done."
Genung says town administration has met with CHAPS officials and he toured the museum on Saturday. He says the town will be there to assist where possible.
While exact costs aren't known, CHAPS president Larry Want says current estimates are as high as $48,000 to complete the cleanup, repair the building, restore the landscaping and replace office equipment, office, archival supplies and materials lost to the flood. Water levels in the basement rose over three feet at its peak.
With tongue-in-cheek, CHAPS president Larry Want teased about how commonly he was referenced by media in the aftermath of the flood coming second only to the mayor. On the positive side, he says the flood has created greater awareness of the existence of the museum.
Typically, the Legion Hall is packed for the twice-annual CHAPS dinners. While fundraising is at the heart of the event, it also doubles as a chance for many long-time Cochrane area families to catch up.
Don Hepburn, of the Stockman's Foundation Library and Archives, had his debut as auctioneer. There was also a raffle and 50-50 draw.