April 15, 2013
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
He has never sought recognition or accolades. There is no financial compensation for his two decades of diligent work. He is not a glory-seeker.
For Brother Paul Froment, the satisfaction of volunteering with the Knights of Columbus comes from the knowledge that worthy charities are being helped.
Froment, 70, from Morinville, has chaired the Knights of Columbus' Alberta State Council's Charities Appeal for 20 years. After serving 10 state deputies, he is finally stepping down.
He and his brother knights sell raffle tickets to family members and friends, and in shopping malls across Alberta. Through the raffle, someone wins a state-sponsored car or truck every spring.
The ticket sales generate funds for their programs, with proceeds going to such charities as school programs, women's shelters and youth sports.
"It's quite a big program to take care of," said Froment.
"You have to deal with the government and the Alberta Liquor and Gaming Commission to get the licensing and find out what their regulations are. Once you get their approval, you have to decide how many tickets to get and then order the tickets."
Representatives from Alberta Liquor and Gaming Commission said they would miss Froment. They told him that he never gave them any problems and, consequently, made their job easier.
Froment coordinates volunteer assistants who not only sell tickets but also deliver and return the demonstration vehicle to and from the malls. The assistants also book mall times and do some basic bookkeeping, including tracking ticket sales and collecting ticket books from members.
"Once I have the tickets in hand, I decide how many books each council in the province will get. There are over 160 councils, and some of them sell more tickets than others," Froment said.
Councils in smaller centres do not sell as many tickets as those in major cities that can rely on heavy traffic in urban shopping malls, he said.
Edmonton's Father Bonner Council, which operates out of St. Thomas More Church, has been highly successful for nine years, with its members selling more tickets than any other council in the Alberta-Northwest Territories jurisdiction, some years by more than double.
Two years ago, Froment estimated that the raffle raised more than $25 million during his 18 years on the job. Last year, the raffle grossed another $240,000 and he expects it will raise $20,000 or $30,000 more this year.
"After expenses, I estimate that we will clear about $170,000 this year, and all of that goes directly back to legitimate charities," he said.
Froment's fulfillment comes from the love of doing the job, and working alongside his brother knights.
"Over the 20 years I've been doing it, we've never had any big problems. There's always something that comes up that needs fixing, but nothing ever very serious. It was a good job to do, and we've made a lot of people happy, and helped many charities over the years," said Froment.
But after 20 years, he says it's time to let someone else take over.
State Deputy Gary Johnson referred to Froment as a good friend. The two men's lives have paralleled in both positive and challenging ways. Both are tremendous volunteers. Both suffered the deaths of their wives, Froment's in November.
"He's done such an incredible job on the Charities Appeal, and he's been doing it forever. It's the key to raising money for our many charities," said Johnson.
WORKED HIS HEART OUT
"This year we've gone to two vehicles and, God bless him, he's worked his heart out and it's going to be very successful again thanks to his efforts, despite all of the stuff that's going on in people's lives."
The $10,000 early bird prize was drawn Jan. 19. Draws for the 2013 Lincoln MKZ and 2013 Ford F-150 truck, valued at $52,500 and $46,500 respectively, will be held April 20 in Calgary.
Johnson said this is a demanding time for the Knights, but nothing has hindered Froment from making this program an ongoing success. The Knights are often approached by charities needing financial support.
"We want to be there for the charities. Paul has been a major force in making that happen. He's just a very dedicated man and always has been, year in, year out. We cannot thank him enough," said Johnson.