Curling community comes together to help Belfast club rebuild after flood
BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - Every four years, the Winter Olympics give curling a chance to shine on the global stage. But for some, including members of the Belfast Curling Club, the sport never strays far from front of mind.
TV5 stopped by the club to talk about how the curling community came together to support them at their time of need.
“[It was] devastating. Devastating!” said Ann Kirkpatrick, past president of the Belfast Curling Club and current USWCA and GNCC representative.
“We had a burst water pipe under the bar, which dumped eight to 10 inches of water in the basement and it probably ran for two or three days before it was discovered,” explained Steve West, current club president.
The flood happened in March 2021.
“[I] got a call from Steve. He said, ‘We’ve had a big problem at the curling club. You should come down.’ I came down, came downstairs to several inches of water. It was a pretty substantial disaster,” said Scott Carson, vice president of the Belfast Curling Club.
Between repairs and much-needed upgrades, the total cost came to about $300,000. They set out to fundraise about half of that amount.
“When we first heard the news about the devastation in the lower level, we were all just beside ourselves. ‘How are we possibly going to fix this? How are we going to raise the money?’” said Sharon Besso, who’s on the board of directors.
While club leadership says members were quick to contribute, they also received support from other curling clubs.
“From our friends in Saint John, New Brunswick all the way to Durham, North Carolina, and all curling clubs in between. Broomstones in Massachusetts, Nashua. The support we got from the curling community was overwhelming,” West said.
“We have a lot of thanks to give. We hope that someday we’ll have the opportunity to return that favor,” said Jeff Dutch, a lifetime member of the board.
As the one-year anniversary of the flood approaches, the club has raised nearly $110,000 and is back up and running. Members say it’s a testament to a community that’s known for its commitment and sportsmanship, both on and off the ice.
“The club’s spirit is amazing and the people that are here, they had the drive to bring this club back up like the Phoenix, you know?” said Tom King, member of the Belfast Curling Club. “It was almost like you walked back in and you never left.”
During the permitting process for the rebuild, Belfast Curling Club got more unexpected news.
The Fire Marshal’s Office notified them they’d need to install a sprinkler system, adding another $200,000 to their costs.
Fundraising for that is underway. If you’d like to contribute, visit their GoFundMe page by clicking here.
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