BOUGHNER REACHES $1-MILLION CHARITABLE MILESTONE
Kirk Dickinson - Windsor This Week
In his career, Windsor Spitfires president and head coach, Bob Boughner has had his share of successes. However, the former NHLer has recently reached a milestone the entire community can celebrate.
Boughner has been conducting charity work and fundraising events for the Windsor-Essex community ever since 1995 and the total for all money raised has just reached $1 million. A fundraiser for the Tecumseh Shoreline Minor Hockey Association was the final donation which put Boughner's charity work above the $1 million mark.
“I always wanted to find a way to give back to the community that supported me,” said Boughner. “It's amazing. ($1 million) is a huge number and you don't realize it when you're doing it, but it adds up over time. It's definitely a milestone. It's something to be proud of for myself personally, and my family, but also for the Windsor Spitfires.”
Boughner said throughout the past 17 years, it has been important that a lot of the charity work be for children. In 1995, when Boughner first began raising money to give back to the community, he started a golf tournament which donated all proceeds to the Children's Achievement Centre. The golf tournament continued on for 10 years after that and raised a total of approximately $250,000.
When Boughner co-purchased the Spitfires about seven years ago, the organization decided to incorporate the Windsor Spitfires Foundation to help further the work that could be done for Boughner's hometown.
“(At first) I never had a personal foundation, it was just about coming back and raising money and giving it back to local charities,” he said. “We wanted to make sure whatever we did as a business, that we'd have a separate entity where we could drive dollars to it and 100 per cent, donate it back (to the community).”
The Spitfires coach has donated his time and effort to numerous causes and charities including the United Way, John McGivney Children's Centre and Victim Services of Windsor and Essex County.
“He always has such a willingness to give,” said Victim Services Support Service Coordinator, Kellie Walker. “He coaches a team, which is a very busy job to begin with. He has a family. (Yet) he still takes the time to come out to a community event and not just send other people.”
Walker said Boughner personally gave up his time as a celebrity server at The Keg, where he, along with some of the Spitfires players, worked as waiters and served food to the restaurant patrons. Any tips that were collected during this event were directly given to Victim Services.
“I think that he shows integrity, so people trust that,” she said. “He's very effective as a leader and I think that's what makes him different from others.”
Boughner said a lot of his drive and willingness to give back to the community came from his parents and the values they instilled in him as a child.
“(My family) didn't grow up with a ton of money and my parents worked extremely hard. At the same point in time, I remember still going away at Christmas time and my parents would go to the toy store and buy toys and donate them to the McDonalds (children's charity),” he said. “Those are the things you remember as a kid, and I think as I moved on in my career and became more fortunate, I remember those values that my family instilled in me.”
Boughner's father, Bob Sr., said he tried to teach his children the value of never forgetting where you come from, and that it's important to give back and help anywhere you can.
“We've always been so proud of everything (Bob) has done,” he said. “To be a role model, like he's been, we've always been proud of him and even more proud at this moment.”
Even after the countless hours he has spent helping out in his community, Boughner said he doesn't take credit for himself because of the many others whom have worked so hard to help raise the $1 million, and donate it back to people in the community.
Boughner said he's hopeful that as the Windsor Spitfires Foundation moves into the future, it won't be too much longer until they reach their next million.
“To have any kind of success, means you're helping out other people who might not be as lucky as you,” he said. “Now that the foundation is up and running and we have more access to the community and we have a bigger product here, I think we'll be able to get to ($2 million) a lot quicker.”