Some local residents and organizations in Moncton are banding together to help a man who has been a fixture in the community for 40 years and is now going through some tough times.
A series of heartbreaking and unfortunate events has landed Bob Vautour in a tough situation. He has been living without power for months, and is at risk of losing his home.
Vautour is well-known in local football circles and has been honoured with a lifetime achievement award for his work with the Moncton Minor Football Association and local women’s football team. He’s had no power in his house since November, cut off because he couldn’t pay the bill.
His heartbreaking story goes back more than a year ago with the death of Diane, his wife of 34 years. He had to use the bulk of his $8,000 in savings to cover her funeral. Then he lost his job as a commissionaire, meaning he couldn’t make his power or mortgage payments. Social assistance his $315 survivor benefit from his $567 monthly check as well. Vautour has found some part-time work but is speaking out so people can understand what’s going on.
“This can happen in the blink of an eye”, he said. “You know, one month you’re fine and two months later you’re in this mess”.
Through it all Vautour continues to persevere. He’s using generators to try to keep things thawed and to heat at least one room for him and his dogs.
“I’ve just basically been winter camping for the last two months”, he said
According to Vautour, the next couple of days will be a true challenge.
“You know, you see your breath and it’s just so cold but I’ve been able to move generators around and heaters around and try to keep the pipes from freezing although this weekend is going to be the coldest weekend so far so it’ll be a test to see if we can keep this place running decent”.
Vautour isn’t alone though. The non-profit group Big Hearts Small City has stepped in to help.
“(We’re) trying to help cover his power bill and help him with his mortgage so that he doesn’t become homeless, and without having power, he could freeze to death in the winter time so we’re trying to help him get out of that hole he’s in”, spokesperson Jason Surette said.
Vautour also has some extra inspiration in the memory of his late wife.
“You almost think that you want to pull through this just for her to show her that you can do it, right? So that she sees that you know you’re not going to lose everything.”
For anyone who wants to help Vautour. A GoFundMe page has been set up and donations are also being accepted at any CIBC branch or by getting in touch with Big Hearts Small City at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vautour is hoping to raise $1,400 for the restoration of his power, and $5,300 so he can keep his home before it goes to auction.
© 2016 Shaw Media