Team EKC (East Kootenay Community Credit Union) will Walk a Mile in Her Shoes during Sam Steele Days Parade this year. From left are Gerry Dreger

Team EKC (East Kootenay Community Credit Union) will Walk a Mile in Her Shoes during Sam Steele Days Parade this year. From left are Gerry Dreger

Teams turbo-charge Walk a Mile in Her Shoes fundraising

Forty men will Walk a Mile in Her Shoes in this year's Sam Steele Days Parade to raise money for the Cranbrook Women's Resource Centre.

Trish Barnes

Forty men will Walk a Mile in Her Shoes in this year’s Sam Steele Days Parade to raise money for the Cranbrook Women’s Resource Centre.

Leading into the walk they’re collecting pledges and might just reach this year’s goal of $20,000 to help keep the doors of the centre open into 2016.

“Pledging is going well,” said Melanie Gould with the Friends of the Cranbrook Women’s Resource Centre. “Five teams are working overtime to raise pledges: East Kootenay Community Credit Union, EMCO Heating and Plumbing, Finning Cranbrook, Mount Baker Secondary and the United Steel Workers Union 946.”

“We’re super stoked to be a part of this,” said Steven Swagar, accounts manager at EMCO Heating and Plumbing. EMCO has a team of three. “I’m excited to see if we can generate some interest nationally between our EMCO branches.”

“Walk a Mile is men standing up against gender violence,” Gould said. “It’s an uncomfortable topic, but the walkers are out there to raise awareness by walking in red, uncomfortable high-heeled shoes for the entire length of the parade route.”

Fred Subra, student services teacher at Mount Baker Secondary, says his team of “eight wild hombres” brings students and teachers to walk together. “We all have a duty to provide safety nets for anyone who might need help one day and find themselves alone,” Subra said. “Taking care of women is the best way to make sure whole families will get through tough times.”

Meanwhile, East Kootenay Community Credit Union’s team of 10 is organizing side events to collect more pledges and raise awareness.

“We all have wives, daughters, grand-daughters, mothers and grand-mothers,” said Gerry Dreger, EKC senior manager and walker. “Walking is just the good thing to do.”

The men, with some help from credit union staff, raised $998 at a barbecue and bake sale on May 29. The team recruited Sweet Gestures Chocolates to make shoe bonbons which you can buy this Friday, June 12, during ‘Meet the Walkers’ from 11 to 2 at the Credit Union. (Or any time between now and then during credit union hours.)

“Team EKC has been super active in the community,” Gould said “EMCO just sent out an email challenging other EMCO locations to pledge, and the United Steel Workers Union 946 is going to donate $3,000 during the walk on June 20! Finning Cranbrook also has a team of six walkers and they are collecting pledges now.

“These men are going above and beyond this year—I know I’ll be cheering them on as they hobble—I mean stride—past during the Sam Steele Days Parade!”

To pledge online, visit www.friendsofthewomenscentre.com