HomeSudbury News

Verner fundraiser helps family after barn fire

By: Heidi Ulrichsen - Sudbury Northern Life

 | Jan 17, 2014 - 11:29 AM |
The barn on Paul Beaudry and Louise Riberdy's Verner dairy farm burned down Dec. 21. The Verner community is planning a fundraiser for Jan. 25 to help the family rebuild. Photo by Erick Dubois, Photo courtesy of West Nipissing Tribune.

The barn on Paul Beaudry and Louise Riberdy's Verner dairy farm burned down Dec. 21. The Verner community is planning a fundraiser for Jan. 25 to help the family rebuild. Photo by Erick Dubois, Photo courtesy of West Nipissing Tribune.

Blaze devastating to fifth-generation farmer

Paul Beaudry and Louise Riberdy were going through the McDonald's drive-thru in Sturgeon Falls after a hockey game on Dec. 21 when they received a phone call from a neighbour who said their barn was on fire.

By the time the couple and their three sons reached their Verner dairy farm, all that was left of the barn was a pile of smouldering, smoking boards.

Sixty-six of the family's purebred Holstein cows died in the fire. Another 18 survived because they were in another barn.

Beaudry said the family is “just devastated” by the fire. He said the cattle are their bread and butter.

“We take care of them, and they take care of us money-wise,” he said. “That's our income.”

Ironically, the barn that was destroyed was one that was built to replace another structure that burned down 60 years ago. Beaudry said his family has owned the farm since 1895, and he's the fifth generation to farm there.

Although both the barn and the animals were insured, Beaudry said the payout probably won't be enough to cover his losses.

The Verner community has stepped up to the plate to help the Beaudry family. A fundraising event involving a spaghetti dinner, dance and auction will be held at the Lavigne Community Centre starting at 4:30 p.m. on Jan. 25.

One of the event's organizers is Nancy Cousineau, one of the Beaudrys' family friends. She said she was actually at the hockey game with the family on the day of the fire, and found out what had happened through a text message.

Cousineau said she rushed to the farm to be at her friends' side. Riberdy cried when she saw her.

“We were in a little circle hugging,” she said.

While Cousineau hopes to raise some money to help the family out, the fundraiser is also meant to show the Beaudrys that the community cares about them.

“We want to come together as a community and friends and support them and let them know they're not alone,” Cousineau said.

While he's thankful for everyone's efforts, Beaudry said he's not surprised his community is trying to help his family out.

“When you live in a small community, everybody gathers and helps,” he said.

Tickets to the event cost $25 per person or $15 for just the dance. Children under the age of 12 get in for free. Those interested in purchasing tickets are asked to phone Cousineau at 705-594-2268 or Dave and Jackie Emiry at 705-594-1143.

For those who wish to make monetary donations, a benefit fund for the Beaudry family has also been set up at the Caisse Populaire in Verner.

@heidi_ulrichsen
 
Heidi Ulrichsen

Heidi Ulrichsen

Staff Writer

@heidi_ulrichsen

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