Jennie Beal of Red Deer has long dreamed of having a huge family reunion in the heart of the Rockies.
Her dream has come true. She recently was named one of 10 lucky winners of $25,000 to host a family reunion thanks to Shaw’s ‘Amazing Family Reunion’ put on by Shaw Communications Inc.
For Beal, it’s the chance of a lifetime as four generations of her family to gather for a reunion this summer in Lake Louise to celebrate her father’s 87th birthday and commemorate the life of her late mother.
Much of her extended family lives in eastern Canada, so it’s indeed a rare opportunity to bring everyone together. She also has four children of her own, and five grandchildren.
“My mom passed away in 2006, and during her last visit out west we had gone to the mountains,” explains Beal. The family had brunch at Lake Louise restaurant, and Beal recalls noticing there was a room called the Agnes Room – which happened to be her mother’s first name.
“She thought it was great. And later, I also learned there is a nearby Agnes Lake there that you can hike to. So I thought what a wonderful reunion that would be, in memory of mom, for all of us to hike to Agnes Lake.”
But she knew the chances of bringing everyone together would be a challenge to say the least. The last time they were all together was for her father’s 65th birthday, and that was more than 20 years ago.
Then along came Shaw’s Amazing Family Reunion contest, which was launched last November.
More than 5,000 Canadians created family scrapbooks and shared their incredible stories, and ultimately 10 families were chosen by a panel of judges.
Beal learned just a few weeks ago she was one of the lucky winners. Now she has $25,000 to plan the perfect reunion. She learned of the Shaw contest through a friend, and quickly entered.
“I wrote my letter, I sent my pictures in and I told them my dad was a vet. He was wounded on the beaches of Normandy. He came back home, met my mom and they got married.”
After entering, Beal was notified that in total 5,500 entries had been received by Shaw. But she wasn’t worried about the competition for the grand prize.
“In my mind, I already believed that I had won – this was fate,” she said with a smile.
Learning she did win has been an incredible gift. “This will fly all of my family to the mountains and my whole planned event is coming together. It’s a dream come true.”
Altogether, 28 people will be attending. “All my kids, all my grandchildren, my brothers and sisters, all my nieces and nephews – everybody. It’s going to be huge. And my dad is just so excited.”
It’s all the more meaningful as her folks always put family first.
“Every weekend was family picnics, hikes in the woods. Every year we also did the family reunions. My mom and dad always used to say, no matter how strong the winds are, your roots will hold you through anything.
“Shaw giving me the opportunity to bring together four generations of my family to celebrate the lives of my mom and dad is truly a dream come true.”
For folks at Shaw Communications, putting together the contest has also been a rewarding experience.
“We’re thrilled to have had so many entries to the Amazing Family Reunion Contest – Canadians have shared some truly wonderful, heartwarming stories with us,” says Brad Shaw, CEO, Shaw Communications Inc.
“Together is Amazing is all about the power of bringing people together and Shaw is incredibly fortunate to play a part in bringing these families together to create lasting memories.”
Visit www.togetherisamazing.com to have a look at the contest submissions.