SCENE & HEARD: John Ulmer was a member of the BC Lions’ 1985 team that was inducted into the BC Sports Hall of Fame after dominating the CFL throughout the season and capping it all with a Grey Cup victory.

Ulmer played in the Canadian Football League from ’85-89 with the Leos and Ottawa Rough Riders. Having kept in Dwayne Johnson ‘The Rock’ type shape in his retirement, John has been a stuntman for over 20 years in the television and film industry

Ulmer has also been a guiding light on the committee that has worked tireless hours putting together Alumni Day at the Races – Sunday, June 18 at Hastings Racecourse in support of Canuck Place, BC Children’s Hospital and Dire Needs Fund.

It also happens to be Father’s Day.

And that’s what jumped out at Ulmer when he read the story last month about five orphaned children in Abbotsford who lost their father in early May when he suffered a heart attack. Their mother had died of a sudden asthma attack last August.

Ulmer sent an email to his fellow committee members that said: “I thought it would be a good gesture from our alumni group to offer the kids an invitation to join us for Alumni Day at the Races as our guests.  It is their first Father’s Day without their father.  What do you think?”

It goes without saying what the response was and the next email from Ulmer read: “We have just brought some happiness to a family that is going through a rough time.  They are very excited about coming.  I am feeling very proud to be a part of this new alumni coalition.”

Within 48 hours of their story running on news sources, more than $100,000 was raised from a G0-Fund-Me page with the money targeted for a trust fund with the goal of keeping the family together while the eldest, Nadine, 22, and Nina, 21, apply for guardianship to support the three youngest, Chelsy, 17, Wade, 16 and Kelsy, 15, through their final years of high school.

The Saint-Ange children, along with family advocate Jen Macpherson and her daughter, will all be arriving for the races Sunday by limousine with a return trip to their home in Abbotsford courtesy of Hastings Racecourse. Christine Hong, assistant manager of special events at Hastings, has also arranged for each of them to leave with a gift pack that includes several racetrack souvenirs as well as PNE Playland passes.

It all started with John Ulmer’s thoughtful gesture. And for that, we thank him.