By Emily Jaycox For the Independent
For the past 25 years, Stettler county resident Keith Haustein has run the Tail Creek Snowbirds’ Christmas season fundraiser.
“My Dad used to do it, and I took over,” said Haustein.
The Erskine snowmobile club members choose a cause each year and donations are accepted at the Erskine post office.
Those who donate have a laminated card with their name and the amount of their donation posted on plywood boards on the south side of the post office.
This year, the recipient of the funds will be club member Steve Baker, who is currently on the waiting list for a heart transplant.
It’s the first time the club has chosen to “give to their own,” said Haustein.
Baker is unable to work and had to sell his business, according to Haustein, and the club wanted to help him and his wife during this time.
Last year, the Snowbirds raised money for a woman who was recently widowed and gifted her about $1,800.
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They have also purchased a defibrillator for an ambulance and furnished a room in the Stettler hospital.
“There’s a whole lot of different things we’ve done.”
Usually, between 50 and 75 people donate to the Christmas fundraiser each year, says Haustein.
The fundraiser will go until Dec. 24 when the post office closes for the holiday.
The Tail Creek Snowbirds was founded in 1971.
When it was first started, it was just a group of farmers who would ride to each other’s houses for Sunday night suppers, says Haustein.
There are currently about 80 members.
Membership tends to rise during years with a good snowfall, says Haustein.
The club holds antique snowmobile shows each year and poker rally fundraisers each year.
The Snowbirds are part of the Alberta Snowmobile Association (ASA) and hold monthly meetings.
“There’s so many different aspects of our club.”
The non-profit club maintains and uses a 35 km looping trail west of Erskine with three warm-up cabins.
The shelters are equipped with washrooms and fireplaces.
The trails and cabins are used with the cooperation and permission of landowners.
“It just gives people a place to ride if they live in town,” said Haustein.
This year, if there is enough snow, the club has the funds to hire a groomer for the trails.
Quads and ATV’s aren’t allowed as they damage the trail.
Those who wish to use the trail are asked to buy a membership.
For more information, visit www.tailcreeksnowbirdsab.ca.
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