Friday August 01, 2014

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'Cugnet Centre' naming continues a legacy of local contribution

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The Cugnet Family pledged $1 million to the Weyburn & District Hospital Foundation on June 23, which was received by WDHF chair Adam Knight. (L-R) Tana, David, Isabelle and Dan Cugnet, Kensington and Tim Cugnet, Adam Knight, Jo-Anne Cugnet, Craig, Ken, Kingston, Leyna, Matt and Jennifer Cugnet.

Weyburn's community, culture and convention centre, which has been known to locals as The Triple C Centre, has finally received its official name. On June 23, Triple C, the Weyburn & District Hospital Foundation, MNP and Valleyview Petroleums hosted a free Giving Seminar at the Legion Hall, after which the official naming of the centre was revealed by Ken and Jo-Anne Cugnet. The Cugnets also made another surprise donation during the event.

The Cugnets, who were joined that day by their children and their families, announced that they had purchased the naming rights for the centre last year, with a $1 million investment portfolio.

"We have chosen the name the 'Kenney & Jo-Anne Cugnet Centre'. We put our names on at the behest of our children, but we wish it to be simply called the 'Cugnet Centre' to honour our family and those who came before us and stayed, as did we and now our children and their wives, who have also decided to stay. We are proud to call Weyburn our home," said Ken.

Ken's family has been part of Weyburn's history since the 1880s. He noted that although he was astounded by the hardships endured by his family in those early years, he was also inspired by the countless hours his ancestors must have spent working toward the dream of a better Weyburn.

"They volunteered on school boards, church boards, telephone companies, Nickle Lake Park Board, Sask Wheat Pool, Ralph Coal Company, RM Councillor and Reeve, sold war bonds, distributed food during the '30's (the Great Depression), helped organize the CCP, the Weyburn Co-op, Sask Wheat Pool, the Weyburn Credit Union and the Weyburn General Hospital," said Ken.

Cugnet also noted that he and Jo-Anne could have spent this money many different ways.

"But we came to the same conclusion, that nothing would give us greater satisfaction than to give back to our community, Weyburn," he said. "We are building on the foundation of those who came before us."

Jo-Anne Cugnet explained why they had chosen to remain anonymous givers until now.

"We both were pleased with our decision," said Jo-Anne. "But we experienced a discomfort about going public with our donation. It was our good friends, the Mainil Family, who lead the way."

"We have come to realize that it is important to lead by example," she said. "How will our children learn if they do not see their parents and neighbors contribute to society? How will they learn the importance of volunteering their time and digging into their own pockets to help build a better community and to reach out to the less fortunate?"

Through her charming recollection of many pot luck dinners in Weyburn in the 1970s, Jo-Anne illustrated her plea to local residents to contribute to community enrichment.

"I understand now that no single family was in a position to feed the whole community, but by sharing, by putting on the table what we could, that was our strength - and that is something to celebrate," she said, adding that, to her, this is the story of Weyburn.

She said that Weyburn has all of what it has to offer now because of great predecessors, 'who wanted to make our community a better place for everyone, to build a better future.'

"It is our hope that the Triple C Centre, which is one million dollars away from reaching their goal, can achieve this soon through the generosity of the Weyburn community," said Jo-Anne. "We can then focus on the Hospital Foundation reaching its goal."

She expressed an urgency for community members to contribute now and to not delay, explaining that 'there is only so much government funding to go around' and that other larger populations could potentially usurp Weyburn's hospital support simply by being better prepared.

"If Weyburn has the funding in place, we are in a much better position to put forth our request for a new hospital," she said. "Planning cannot and will not occur until we have the money."

Using the Weyburn Community Donation Pledge Form, the Cugnets also announced a $1 million pledge to the Weyburn & District Hospital Foundation. Adam Knight, WDHF chair, was surprised and impressed. Thanks to the Cugnet family's generous donation, the WDHF is about $9 million away from its $20 million fundraising goal.


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