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Cuppen family donates $50,000 to Fort Macleod Handibus Society

handibus donation
The Cuppen family presented a cheuqe for $25,000 Thursday to the Fort Macleod Handibus Society. That brings to $50,000 the amount the Cuppens have donated over two years. From left: Bruce Robertson of the handibus society, Nony Orr, Jack Cuppen, and Linda Ripley, Bob Ripley and Sue Monteith of the handibus society.

Fort Macleod Handibus Society last week received its second $25,000 donation from the Cuppen family.

That brings to $50,000 the amount the family donated in memory of their mother, Jean (Cuppen) Sinclair.

The challenge now, Jack Cuppen said, is for other Fort Macleod past and present residents to match or better the $50,000 donation.

“I always wanted to do something for my mom, in honour of her,” Jack Cuppen said of the decision to support the handibus.

Jean (Cuppen) Sinclair lived in Fort Macleod for about 65 years, working at the hospital as a nurse.

Jack Cuppen was raised in Fort Macleod, a community that he said took an interest in and supported young people like him.

Although he is widely travelled and now lives in Calgary, Jack Cuppen fondly remembers and remains loyal to Fort Macleod.

Jack made the donation on behalf of his siblings Joyce Widmer, Nolan Cuppen, Doug Cuppen and Nony Orr.

In 2019 the handibus provided 7,006 rides, of which 1,267 were for people using wheelchairs.

That compares to 6,740 rides in 2018, of which 1,253 passengers were using wheelchairs.

The handibus had to shut down the service last March when the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in Alberta.

The handibus remained parked until fall, when the service resumed.

The $50,000 from the Cuppen family will go into a fund for the 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.

Handibus society treasurer Linda Ripley said the latest donation is timely because the society will apply for a provincial Community Improvement Program grant in 2021.

The grant program matches money the community group already has, so the Cuppens’ donation boosts the amount for which the society can apply.