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Jason Blaine launches charitable fund for local community organizations

By Stephen Uhler, The Daily Observer

STEPHEN UHLER stephen.uhler@sunmedia.ca
Country star Jason Blaine borrows his father’s guitar to play a few songs during Wednesday announcement of the creation of the Jason Blaine Charitable Fund and the annual celebrity charity golf classic, which will help raise funds for it. The golf classic, which debuts June 17-18, 2014, will feature a musical gala performed by some of Canada’s top country musicians, who will also play in the tournament.

STEPHEN UHLER stephen.uhler@sunmedia.ca Country star Jason Blaine borrows his father’s guitar to play a few songs during Wednesday announcement of the creation of the Jason Blaine Charitable Fund and the annual celebrity charity golf classic, which will help raise funds for it. The golf classic, which debuts June 17-18, 2014, will feature a musical gala performed by some of Canada’s top country musicians, who will also play in the tournament.

Pembroke area native and country recording star Jason Blaine is giving back to his home community in a spectacular way.

On Wednesday, following a charity "9 and Dine" golf tournament at the Pembroke Golf Club, he announced both the creation of a charitable fund which will be used to support community organizations in the Pembroke and Petawawa area, and a major fundraising event which will raise money for it.

The first annual Jason Blaine Celebrity Charity Golf Classic will launch June 17-18, 2014, starting with a musical gala held the Friday night before the Saturday golf tournament. That concert will feature a number of Canadian country music stars who will be auctioned off to a team to join them on the greens at the next day's golf event. Other celebrities from the sports world are expected to attend as well.

There will also be prizes and a silent auction.

The Jason Blaine Charitable Fund itself will be administered by the Pembroke and Petawawa District Community Foundation.

Blaine said he wants to give back to his hometown by establishing his own charity which would provide funding to worthwhile community causes for many years to come.

"The Valley is close and near and dear to my heart," he said to a packed house, and he wanted to do something to help benefit it and a number of important community organizations.

Inspiration hit when attending a similar golf and concert event hosted by Gord Bamford, another country star who lives in Alberta.

"This is modeled after Gord's event," Blaine said, "but it is going to be our own in the area.

"This will be a unique and fun event where country music fans will be able to get really close to some great artists while also supporting wonderful community causes."

Each year it will benefit a different organization, but for its inaugural run, the golf classic will benefit the Algonquin College capital campaign and the Pembroke and Area Boys and Girls Club. Both groups have decided to collapse their own annual golf tournaments next year in favour of working together to help plan the new event.

Blaine said in addition the Renfrew County Child Poverty Action Network and local food banks will also benefit from the golf classic.

A local success story, Blaine grew up in a musical family, getting his first break when he won Project Discovery 2002, a cross-Canada talent search that helped him start making connections within the music industry.

He had started writing songs while attending Algonquin College, and shortly after graduating in 2000 moved to Southern Ontario where he started spending more time in the studio. He later moved to Nashville, where he now lives with his wife Amy and three children. Several of his songs have cracked the top 40 charts on country music radio and television.

"They Don't Make 'Em Like That Anymore" spent several weeks in the top ten in Canadian country music charts and earned Blaine three nominations at the 2012 Canadian Country Music Awards (CCMA), winning for Single of the Year. The video for the song was shot on Pembroke's waterfront, starring his grandparents. The song was inspired by Blaine's grandfather, Harvey Rutz.

In January 2013, Blaine was honoured by the city of Pembroke when he became the first ever recipient of the Mayor's Award of Distinction. Besides his success as a musician, he has also been a strong supporter of Algonquin College's capital campaign, backing the fundraising effort and appearing at the waterfront campus' official opening, and has stepped up for the Renfrew County Child Poverty Action Network.

This year, Blaine will be performing live at the 2013 CCMAs and is nominated for Songwriter of the Year, has released a new album "Everything I Love," and has been nominated for an Ontario College Premier's Award by Algonquin College.

Stephen Uhler is a Daily Observer multimedia journalist

stephen.uhler@sunmedia.ca


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