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Paul Brandt, Aaron Lines, Rob Schneider offer support to Fort McMurray

Click to play video: 'Paul Brandt and Aaron Lines visit Fort MacMurray evacuees'
Paul Brandt and Aaron Lines visit Fort MacMurray evacuees
RAW VIDEO: Alberta country music stars Paul Brandt and Aaron Lines spent the day visiting with people forced out by the wildfire – May 10, 2016

EDMONTON – Two country music stars from Alberta paid a visit to a few evacuee reception centres Tuesday to meet those forced out by the Fort McMurray fire.

Paul Brandt and Aaron Lines were at the Northlands Expo Centre around 4 p.m. Earlier Tuesday, they made a stop in Lac La Biche to visit with evacuees there.

Brandt – who grew up in Calgary – and Lines – who grew up in Fort McMurray – said they just wanted to offer their support to Albertans who fled the fire that destroyed 2,400 structures last week and listen to their stories.

“They definitely have taken a hard blow,” Brandt said, but “they’re full of resilience.”

The Alberta Bound singer said he and Lines “wiped a lot of tears away.”

While he said he’s often asked when he’ll do a benefit concert, Brandt wanted to meet with people affected directly first, listen to their worries, their fears, and find out what the need is, in the short-term and long-term.

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READ MORE: James Taylor to donate Alberta show proceeds to Fort McMurray wildfire relief

For Lines, the disaster hit especially close to home. He grew up in the Beacon Hill neighbourhood, where about 70 per cent of the community was destroyed by fire, including his childhood home.

“It hits home,” Lines said. “Your hometown is your hometown.”

However, it’s been inspiring to see the support rallying behind residents of Fort McMurray.

“Fort Mac gave a lot to people and people are kind of paying that back now,” he said.

“It’s important to see everyone gathering around them,” Lines added. “It’s something that makes you glad to be from here.”

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Meanwhile, comedian Rob Schneider, of Saturday Night Live fame, will also try to lift the spirits of fire evacuees.

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The Deuce Bigalow star will make an appearance at Northlands next Tuesday.

Schneider will be in Edmonton for a gig at The Comedy Strip Monday night.

READ MORE: Where Fort McMurray fire evacuees can get help and information

The owner of the comedy club said it was Schneider who reached out to him, asking how he could help.

“Last Tuesday… Rob reached out to me by text and was already aware of the wildfire,” Rick Bronson said. “He immediately asked me: ‘what can we do to help the victims of this fire?'”

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Bronson said Schneider committed to doing a benefit show that has already sold out. A second show has been added.

“We’re expecting that because of his social conscience and his good will, that we have a possibility of making $70,000 to $75,000 with this event.”

Both the provincial and federal governments have promised to match donations to Fort McMurray through the Red Cross.

“We all thought it was really important to be part of this,” Bronson said.

The comedian insisted on paying his own way to Edmonton and 100 per cent of the show’s proceeds will go towards Fort McMurray wildfire relief.

“I’ve never been more proud to be an Albertan than now,” Bronson said.

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