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Mayors unite: current, former city mayors raise money for United Way

Politically they may not always agree, but four Thunder Bay mayors see eye to eye on at least one thing – the importance of the United Way of Thunder Bay.
Mayor Keith Hobbs (from left) and ex-mayors Jack Masters, Lynn Peterson and Ken Boshcoff have joined forces to raise money for the United Way thorugh it's annual billboard rescue campaign. (Leith Dunick,

Politically they may not always agree, but four Thunder Bay mayors see eye to eye on at least one thing – the importance of the United Way of Thunder Bay.

Ex-mayors Jack Masters, Ken Boshcoff and Lynn Peterson on Tuesday joined sitting Mayor Keith Hobbs at City Hall to kick off their Mayors R Us fundraising campaign centred around the United Way’s annual billboard rescue event.

Masters, the city’s fourth mayor who served from 1986 to 1991, admitted heights aren’t his favourite thing in the world, but figured he’d join with the other three mayors to help support a great cause.

“It certainly deserves the support. You have a lot of hard-working volunteers who go out and collect the money, but you have a bigger group of volunteers who deliver those services,” the 80-year-old Masters said.

“And those services are going to so many people who otherwise just be hanging out there to dry. Being even a small part of it is a privilege.”

Peterson, mayor from 2003 to 2010, said the United Way is all about supporting the people in Thunder Bay who need help the most.
Without it, many organizations would not have the funding to do what they need to do.

“It makes a difference in everybody’s life and if we, as four mayors, can get together and not only have some fun, but more importantly raise some money to assist the United Way, then that’s what we’re here for. It’ll be great,” Peterson said, adding she doesn’t have a high or low figure of how much she hopes to collect while on the scissor lift during the May 17 event.

“We know the community always comes forward. It always does. But it takes a lot of work and it takes a lot of reminders, but I think the four of us can pass along a little reminder that the community gives back.”

Boshcoff, who served two terms as mayor between 1997 and 2003 before a brief stint as a Member of Parliament, organized the event after being approached by incoming United Way campaign chairwoman Carol Busch.

A longtime supporter of the United Way, he said it’s fun bringing people together for a common cause that’s not only fun, but should show significant results.

Though the foursome come from different political stripes, Boshcoff said it was fairly easy to convince them to hop on board.
“They all agreed very quickly, so here we are,” he said, adding they’re hoping to raise as much money as possible and will be calling all of their contacts while suspended in mid-air.

Hobbs, unfortunately, will be out of the country during the event, but promised to raise as much money as possible before heading for Gifu, Japan for a sister cities visit.

“I’ll be fundraising for the United Way through this,” he said. “Getting four mayors together, as I call them, Your Worships, it’s great. It’s a great initiative and it should bring a lot of attention to the United Way.

“I’m already out pounding the streets to see what we can get.”

To support the mayors, phone Boshcoff at 473-8288 or email him at Donations can also be made at the United Way of Thunder Bay website.

Follow Leith Dunick on Twitter: @LeithDunick




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