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Health Care Heroes Series: Brandt Tractor Ltd.

Brandt Tractor Ltd. is a tremendous supporter of the Northern Lights Health Foundation, having raised funds critical to health care in Wood Buffalo through their United Way workplace campaign and other fund raising activities.

In 2014, Brandt began directing their United Way Campaign funds to the Health Foundation in memory of Jeremy Snook. Jeremy was an enthusiastic, loving young man that began working for Brandt as part of Heavy Duty Technician program.

In 2012, Jeremy began having bad migraines. When his symptoms didn’t improve, he received an MRI at the Northern Lights Regional Health Centre, which sadly led to a diagnosis of brain cancer. Jeremy spent his last days surrounded by family and friends, receiving palliative care treatment in the Medicine Unit of the Health Centre. Jeremy passed away on October 3, 2013, he was only 19 years old.

Brandt has raised over $50,000 in support of the Health Foundation. These funds will help in expanding and renovating palliative care services in the Health Centre. Renovations will include new patient suites with adjoining family rooms, which will provide a home-like atmosphere where patients and their loved ones can be comfortable during end of life care.

We recently caught up with Dave Wallace, Branch Manager of Brandt, where he shared why his team supports health care in our region.

Q: Can you tell me a bit about yourself?
Dave: I’m a 20 year resident of Fort McMurray. I moved here from Yellowknife where I lived for 11 years. I’ve been with Brandt Tractor for the past 16 years. I came west to capitalize on the opportunities that come from places like Yellowknife and Fort McMurray. I live here with my wife Kathy. Both of our daughters and our grandson are in Fort Mac as well. It’s nice having the whole family here in this great community.

Q: What inspired Brandt Tractor, and yourself personally to begin supporting the Health Foundation?
Dave: Jeremy (Snook). He worked with Brandt as a RAP Student (Registered Apprenticeship Program) for two five month terms during high school, plus he worked as our summer student as well. Jeremy did very well as our RAP student, so we offered him full-time employment upon graduation from grade 12.

Not long after starting full time as an apprentice, Jeremy started having headaches. Sadly, 93 days into his apprenticeship he was diagnosed with brain cancer. Jeremy fought the disease with all he had, but passed away in October 2013.

Jeremy was our youngest staff member, he was the high school kid working here as our RAP Student. He was like a little brother to many working in our shop. He will be greatly missed.

His parents Brian and Gail Snook are wonderful people. Many times they told us about the kindness and compassion showed by the staff at the Northern Lights Hospital. Brian and Gail were the reason we got involved. They wanted to do something for the hospital to say thanks and also they knew firsthand about needed improvements to the palliative care ward.

Brian and Gail and Team Snook hosted our United Way Fund raising barbeques. Virtually 100% of our donations were designated to the Northern Lights Regional Health Foundation in Memory of Jeremy.
In addition to our United Way Campaign activities, we’re also donating funds through 50/50s and raffles at our Christmas parties. Our goal is to raise $100,000 in support of the Health Foundation.

Q: In addition to the Health Foundation, what organizations and causes does Brandt support?
Dave: We support many different organizations but supporting this project with the Northern Lights Health Foundation is our main project for the next few years.

Q: The Health Foundation turned 30 years old this year. Why do you feel it’s important to support health care in our community?
Dave: It’s our hospital and we should be proud of it. We need to be more supportive of the hospital. If you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything.

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photo_of_brian__jeremy_and_gail_snook.jpgThe Snook Family - Brian, Jeremy and Gail Snook. Dave Wallace, Branch Manager of Brandt credits Jeremy for being the inspiration behind their support of the Health Foundation.

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