Power of a smile fuels Coldbrook School fundraiser

Jennifer Hoegg jhoegg@kingscountynews.ca
Published on February 19, 2014

When students at Coldbrook School designed logos for a Home and School fundraiser, one little girl’s drawing touched organizers’ hearts.

Ten-year-old Cassieus Taylor made two designs for the sale of bags of coffee from local roasters, TAN Coffee, to benefit Coldbrook Home and School: one about diversity and another featuring Anthoney Wheeler.

Wheeler, who died last fall, was well known in the Valley for his daily treks from Coldbrook to New Minas, sporting a TAN Coffee logo on his shirt.

“It really touched everyone so much, because it was just after he had passed away,” Home and School president Tracy Nordoff said.  

After showing the design to TAN Coffee’s Lay Chin Tan, the idea of a second fundraiser was created.

“We all know how much Anthoney was loved and admired and we all loved to wave to him as he walked along the highway,” Nordoff added. “All of the profits that we would normally put to our Home and School fund we are putting to the healthy living program.”

Tan’s business will donate a portion of the funds raised to the Heart and Stroke foundation in Wheeler’s name.

“Because of that student, who has no connection … to Anthoney, just because every time on the highway, seeing that big smile on his face,” Tan said, she felt motivated to contribute beyond the usual partnership with the school fundraiser.

“We need that in the community, that connection.”

Wheeler came into the Coldbrook location almost every day, Tan recalled.

 “He was a really special friend to us,” Tan said.

“He was inspiring.”

Coldbrook principal Jean Corporon said when she contacted the Wheelers to ask permission to use his name and image, “they were very humbled by it all” and were “overwhelmed” that a child had initiated it.

“They thought it was a very thoughtful thing to do,” she said. 

Wheeler, who told the Advertiser he once weighed 329 pounds, walked more than 100 kilometres a week until he died at the age of 69 in September 2013.

“He was out there living a healthy, active live the best that he could with a smile,” Corporon said.

The principal said she didn’t realize Taylor was an artist before this contest.

“She is a very mature and kind and understanding little girl who picks up on things – they say a picture says a 1,000 words – she said it in both drawings,” Corporon said.

Businesses have donated prizes and everyone who buys a bag of beans will be entered in the draw and donations to the school will also be accepted.

“Every single business who has donated so far is so excited to be a part of it,” Nordoff said.

The fundraiser runs from Feb. 22 to 28 at the Kentville and Coldbrook TAN cafés and will be launched Feb. 22 at the Kentville café from 2 to 4 p.m.