Fundraising efforts blossom into new friendship between local ladies and RCMP officer

Casual acquaintances or even total strangers became close friends following a date involving four local women and an RCMP officer who was offered up as part of a fundraising effort for the Blindman Youth Centre. Pictured above with the lucky ladies who included (left to right) Fiona Martel

Casual acquaintances or even total strangers became close friends following a date involving four local women and an RCMP officer who was offered up as part of a fundraising effort for the Blindman Youth Centre. Pictured above with the lucky ladies who included (left to right) Fiona Martel

Staff

What started out as a bit of kidding among those in attendance at the recent Irish Gala has quickly become a full-blown friendship between four local women and one of the newest members of the Rimbey RCMP Detachment, and it also raised a heck of a lot of money for a local organization.

As part of the gala, a silent auction was held with a number of excellent items up for bids including a date with Constable Matt Bentz, who was recently posted to Rimbey along with Constable Charles Lambright.

“Matt had agreed to have himself auctioned off as a way of getting himself better known in the community and to raise funds for the Blindman Youth Centre,” said Fiona Martel who along with friends Kathy Renaud, Stephanie Clark and Tresa Lowe bid the highest for the date. “I’m not sure exactly how he got volunteered to do that, but he was a very hot ticket at the auction, I do know that much. There was lots of bidding for him and lots of ladies were really excited to see him up on the auction block.”

With the top bid of $1,100, the ladies took full advantage of the date that included a tour of the community, introductions to many new faces for Bentz and a few stops at some local businesses, which participated in the fundraiser.

Describing Bentz as “tall, dark and handsome”, Martel said the fun began right off the bat, even before they had won with the highest bid, despite some early awkwardness.

“He was quite shy at the beginning and he was told all he had to do was to stand up and give a wave and they’d auction him off from his table but as it turned out they pulled him up to the front and had him walk around a bit. Most people know who he is from seeing him around so there was lots of whispering about him. He didn’t want to be the centre of attention anymore than he had to be but as it turned out, he was very much so,” Martel said.

“We were a little bit mean to Matt; we had him get up on our table and do a little dance for us so we could see what we got so we had some fun with him and made him a little bit nervous – he was a little unsure what to think of us at the time, but it worked out for the best,” she added. “He’s very personable, very down to earth, very easy to talk to – open and up front, he cares about Rimbey and wants to learn more about it here which was nice because the four of us have been in Rimbey for various amounts of time so we were able to share some of that knowledge with him, so yes, he was very easy to talk to and a great guy.”

The date, which was held on Wednesday, March 25, began at the Rimbey Bakery where the group enjoyed a breakfast and a bit of an official introductory before heading out to the Co-op Mall and a stop at Country Casuals for some shopping thanks to complimentary gift certificates.

From there it was off to Rimbey Curves for a tour of the facility and equipment thanks to Renaud who is the owner/operator followed by lunch and a few games of pool at The Vault. Then, it was the opportunity to relax and rejuvenate with some pampering at the Tantastic Day Spa before their final stop at the A&W for a delicious supper.

“All of us that went on the date with him – three of us are married and Stephanie has an significant other, so it was very laid-back in regards to that,” Martel said who along with the others, were spotted wearing matching T-shirts and for a time, a crown for Bentz who the ladies dubbed ‘Prince Charming’ as part of a theme for the date.

As for the auction itself, Martel said to the best of her memory the date with Bentz commanded the highest amount of items up for bids that also included tickets to a Calgary Flames hockey game and a days’ worth of carpentry services.

“At the lower amounts there was lots of bidding and then as it got into the last three or four hundreds dollars there was only one other table that was going back and forth with each other,” said Martel who is employed as a teacher. “It was a great time. I kind of bugged Matt to take us on a tour of the Detachment as well so we went back there and that’s where the photograph was taken from inside one of the jail cells. That was a highlight for me. I really enjoyed that. I’ve been with the Kindergarten class from the elementary school going through the Detachment before, but this was really fun.”

Following the gala, she said it took a bit of schedule coordinating between the parties involved with Renaud operating Curves and performing the occasional grandmother duties, Clark who raises horses, Lowe who also works at Curves, is a mother and photographer; and Martel as a teacher, plus they also had to factor in Bentz’s schedule. Luckily for all, the date was held during spring break.

”I’ve been asked myself numerous times how the date went and I believe that all of us have established a friendship with Matt,” Martel said. “I’ve talked to him several times since and we’ve arranged to meet up as a group and go for drinks and do different things so it was absolutely worth it. The money went to a great cause and he’s a great guy. Thanks to Matt for putting himself out there like that and allowing us to go through all that with him. We had a great day and we all made a new friend.”

As for the lucky fellow, he agreed whole-heartedly.

“It was a long day and it was a fun day. All four of the ladies were a lot of fun and I had a good time with them all day,” Bentz said. “There was a lot of businesses that were pitching in for the date so it was a good time and I’d do it again, it was great and all the proceeds went to a good cause so it was a pleasure to be a part of it.”

He said it was the ideal opportunity to get out and meet new people in his new hometown and learn more about the community and what makes it tick.

“I met a lot of people that day and went into a couple of businesses that I hadn’t been in yet so it was a good day all around,” he said while pondering whether he’ll be up for bids again next year. “Potentially, we’ll see what happens. I met four new friends I believe, and it was nice to get out on the town and see what Rimbey is all about, so it was a good time.”

Already attached, Bentz was quick to answer when asked if he’d ever been on a date with four women at the same time before.

“No I have not,” he said with a chuckle.