A group of hockey-loving doctors have given a Vernon men’s mental health group a big assist, in the form of $25,000 to be put towards future projects.
Men’s Shed Vernon recently completed its five-year strategic plan, outlining projects that will look to continue strengthening mental health among men in the area.
Since 2017, the organization has brought together men over 50 for projects that include building tables for a youth camp, a gazebo for a women’s shelter, refinishing benches for a nature centre and refurbishing a sailboat.
But a larger shed location is desperately needed for the group to continue its meaningful work.
The Men’s Shed caught the attention of organizers of the Doctor’s Hockey Tournament, which has seen about 24 teams play in Vernon-area rinks every year for the past 35 years, becoming the largest physicians tournament in Western Canada.
The Doctor’s Hockey Tournament supports the Canadian Mental Health Association and one other local charity each year, but also makes occasional donations to other groups whenever it has extra funding.
Though this year’s tournament was cancelled due to the pandemic, the group’s support for local mental health initiatives didn’t skip a beat.
When the doctors heard Men’s Shed Vernon had its five-year plan ready to go in January, they agreed to donate $25,000 to help the plan along.
“This significant contribution to the work of the Men’s Shed aligns with our belief that social connection, whether in a locker room or a workshop, benefits men’s mental health and the health of their families,” said Dr. Manish Bhatt, one of the tournament directors.
Local physician Dr. Will Cawkell started the hockey tournament, in 1983 intending to support local charities.
“In hockey, an assist from a prominent player can come at the right time to help a novice player score. In a similar way, the grant of $25,000 from the renowned Doctor’s Hockey Tournament, happened at just the right time for Men’s Shed Vernon,” said David Friesen of Men’s Shed.
“The guys from the shed were so encouraged by this gesture that they quickly matched the grant, putting Men’s Shed Vernon in much better financial shape for the future.”
Within 90 days, generous friends and members of Men’s Shed matched the $25,000 as promised for a total of $50,000.
Men’s Shed members have been keeping busy since launching three years ago with more than 35 completed projects in that time. Most recently, they built and delivered a number of community garden boxes to the Food Action Society in January.