Courage Canada Trail Ride founder nominated for UFA Small Town Hero Award

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By Francois Biber/ Vermilion Standard

Local cowboy Curtis Anderson from Minburn has been nominated for the UFA Small Town Heroes Award after seven consecutive years organizing the Courage Canada Trail Ride.

Jim and Edna Myhovich, friends of Anderson nominated him for this award after watching him recover from a brain injury he suffered in 2002 at a bull riding competition.

“We saw the wreck happen on TV and I thought it was it for him,” said Jim.

“He said so himself he wasn’t going to quit and he kept going on building up his strength. Now he can stand up and recite poetry to 500 people.”

Edna agreed saying, “We’ve always known him and his mom and just watching him recover, it has been amazing how he’s recovered since 2002.”

Country music artist Paul Brandt joined UFA as a spokesperson and collectively made the Small Town Heroes Award a reality.

For Brandt he says he maintains his small town roots after growing up in Airdrie, Alta.

“This is an opportunity to encourage some of those small town values, people who do things for the right reasons and we wanted to put something together to recognize those kinds of people,” said Brandt in a telephone interview.

Brandt noted how his father was a hero in Airdrie working as a paramedic. Brandt recalls his father driving to the hospital on his day off to check on patients he picked up earlier.

“If he heard about someone in the hospital who wasn’t doing very well he’d go in on his off days and check on his patients to see if they were doing okay. That’s the type of thing we want to recognize, people who do help out in the community when they don’t really have to but they’re doing it because it’s the right thing to do,” said Brandt.

For the Myhovichs they’re nominating Anderson because of his triumph over his brain injury and the work he’s done with Courage Canada.

Over the past seven years Anderson has been raising money for the Northern Alberta Brain Injury Society (NABIS) and the Halvar Johnson Brain Injury Centre in Ponoka, where Anderson spent months recovering.

This year’s trail ride raised $20,000 for the two centres and had over 215 riders and 469 attend the supper featuring Hugh McLennan and cowboy poets from the area.

“We’re nominating him because what he’s been through and what he’s doing,” said Jim.

“He recovered and is still well on his way to recovery and now he’s turned around and giving a hand to others who were in his same position.”

Brandt said the biggest thrill is visiting small towns in Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia and meeting small town folks and hearing stories about extraordinary things they do for their community.

The second annual Small Town Heroes Award will be announced on September 30. Two winners will receive a Paul Brandt concert in their community as well as $2,500. Eight runner-up prizes of $1,000 will also be named. Voters can go online everyday and vote for their small town heroes.

“Votes are a big part of it but judges also look at the originality of the application,” said Brandt.

“We want to see video clips, pictures and do something creative that’s going to explain to use why their nominee should be a small town hero.”

Go to www.ufa.com/smalltownheroes to vote.

Curtis is still in 4th place and the voting closes in less than two weeks now. Be sure to get to the website and vote every day to help Curtis win. I know we can all do it for him. He deserves this so much! There are only a few days left let’s help him finish strong!

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