In the aftermath of a crime spree in which vandals stole a truck, which they later burned to the ground, a Rimbey resident is reaching out to the community to give a financial hand up to the owner of the vehicle.
At 7 a.m. on Aug 6, Bert Pluigers from Rimbey received a phone call from the RCMP that he certainly did not want to get.
His truck had not only been stolen, it has been torched and left to burn up to a pile of rubble by two men who had broken into two businesses in Rimbey.
“I was a little mad that morning,” said Pluigers.
The truck, a 2005 Ford F250 extended cab, 4×4, long box which also contained winter gear and a Husqvarna 460 Ranger chainsaw, was more than just a recreational vehicle for Pluigers.
The truck was used by Pluigers in his business, Bert’s Firewood.
When Craig Oliver, also a resident of Rimbey, called Pluigers Friday to order firewood he was shocked to hear what had happened to his truck.
“After thinking about how it could affect my own family if a heartless occurrence such as this happened to me, I decided this was a perfect opportunity to pay it forward.”
As Oliver is a new resident to the community he did a background check on Pluigers to verify his standing in the community.
He need not have worried.
Residents were quick to tell him he was a well-known, well-liked kind and generous grandfather of 13 who was always willing to help others.
Knowing he was helping out someone who was most deserving of a helping hand, Oliver immediately took action to do his part to ‘pay it for- ward.’
“The loss of his truck has been a devastating blow to Bert and his family,” said Oliver. “As many in Alberta he has been struggling with the current economy, just able to hang in there, barely able to afford insurance and, as such, didn’t have theft nor fire insurance on his truck, only public liability.”
The loss of his truck means Pluigers cannot earn an income for his family until a new vehicle can be acquired.
To pay it forward and help Bert and his family get a dependable replacement truck, Oliver is hoping to raise $20,000 to replace the truck, winter gear, chainsaw and get proper insurance.
“By doing this Bert can help a whole lot of us have a much warmer winter,” he said.
A trust account has been set up with ATB Financial at the Rimbey, ATB branch and donations can also be made at any ATB branch using Bert’s full name, Lambertus Pluigers.
Anyone who wishes to help other than by donating financially through the truck account contact Craig Oliver of AmazingIdeas.com at helpbert@ amazing-ideas.com
Pluigers is pleased with the support.
“It’s pretty wonderful,” he said. “That’s what I like about Rimbey. People pull together.”