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Family honours mother with $50,000 Fort Macleod Handibus donation

Bruce Robertson of the Fort Macleod Handibus Society accepts a cheque for $25,000 from Jack Cuppen, Joyce Widmer and Nolan Cuppen. The donation, which includes another $25,000 next year, is in memory of Jean (Cuppen) Sinclair. Missing from the photo are Doug Cuppen and Nony Orr.

Fort Macleod Handibus Society is receiving a $50,000 donation in memory of Jean (Cuppen) Sinclair.
Jack Cuppen delivered the first $25,000 installment Saturday to Bruce Robertson of the handibus society.
“I always wanted to do something for my mom, in honour of her,” Cuppen said.
Jean (Cuppen) Sinclair lived in Fort Macleod for about 65 years, working at the hospital as a nurse.
Jack Cuppen made the donation on behalf of his siblings Joyce Widmer, Nolan Cuppen, Doug Cuppen and Nony Orr.
“I’ve been all over the world but I always remember my roots,” said Cuppen, who lives in Calgary. “It was this village that brought me up.”
“There were some really good elders who kept an eye on me.”
Cuppen is hopeful other people who live in Fort Macleod, or who have ties to the community, will contribute to match his donation.
Robertson said use of the handibus increases every year, providing transportation for people who have no other way to get around town.
“I look at the handibus as an essential service,” Robertson said. “It’s a part of the community that people depend on, who have no other way to get around.”
In 2018 the Fort Macleod Handibus provided 6,740 rides.
Of those rides, 1,253 were taken by people in wheelchairs.
Jack Cuppen said his mother was one of those people who used the handibus.
“She used the handibus and she benefitted from it,” Cuppen said.
The $50,000 from Cuppen will go into a fund for the eventual purchase of a new handibus.
The present bus was bought seven years ago following a huge community fund-raising effort and is slowly wearing down from heavy use.
The new handibus will cost the society more than $100,000.
“This is an important part toward that new bus,” Robertson said of the donation. “We’re hoping the community is going to step forward and start matching some of this too.”
“It’s interesting hearing about people giving back to the community who were here years ago,” Robertson said. “It’s important.”
Robertson lived in cities for many years before moving to Fort Macleod 21 years ago and came to realize there is a strong sense of community here.
“That’s more important than anything,” Robertson said.
Robertson expressed appreciation for the donation to the volunteer society.
“On behalf of the Fort Macleod Handibus and the people it serves, all I can say form the heart is thank you for the donation,” Robertson said.

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