FORTEAU, NL AND ST. ALBERT, AB – The memory and passing of a loved one has inspired the Toms family to help other people.
On Feb. 12, Craig Toms, on behalf of his company Toms Wealth Management Group and in partnership with the Heart and Stroke Foundation, donated an automated external defibrillator (AED) to students at Paul Kane High School in St. Albert, Alberta.
Toms also brought in trainers for the day to demonstrate to students how to use the AED and to train them in CPR.
Between 80 and 100 students received training at the school.
Students also received take-home kits that Toms says will allow them to show their family how to resuscitate people as well.
His mother Barbara and his wife Kristin were also on hand for the presentation.
The donation had a personal motivation for the family.
In November 2016, Toms’ father Robert Toms passed away unexpectedly after a sudden heart attack.
When the family made the donation, it was both to honour Robert and to train students to help prevent similar tragedies from striking other families.
“If one person who was in the room somewhere along the way helps somebody out, then that’s money well spent in my opinion,” Toms told the Northern Pen.
He felt making this donation to a school was appropriate given his father’s work. Both Toms’ parents were teachers at Mountain Feild Central High and, later, Mountain Feild Academy in Forteau, Labrador.
They moved to the small Labrador Straits town from Grand Falls-Windsor in 1973.
As well as being a high school teacher, Robert helped set up the Junior Rangers program in the Labrador Straits. He was a sergeant with the Rangers and ended up doing work across the country with the program.
His work included teaching youth outdoor survival skills as well as first aid.
“I wanted to do something and as I thought about the things he was involved in over the years, I thought giving something back to the school made sense,” said Toms.
The Labrador Straits region was too remote for him to provide the training, so he decided to make the donation at a school near his home in Sturgeon County, Alberta.
In total, the AED and training Toms’ company donated were worth $10,000.
The company also made donations on all its clients’ birthdays to the Heart and Stroke Foundation over the past year.