Thank you...

Jason Gregor
May 14 2014 10:53AM

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**This is not a sports related article.**

I still remember getting my first suit. It was a hand-me-down from my older cousin Scott, but I got to pick a new shirt and tie to wear with it, and I vividly remember thinking this suit made me look older. It was a big deal.

Like most teenagers my cousin never wore the suit more than two or three times so it seemed brand new to me. I felt more mature when I wore it the first time and that memory was the reason why we started The Gregor Foundation this past year. Our goal was to provide suits for young men graduating from high school who were unable to get their own suit.

Yesterday we had our first fitting day, and it was, AWESOME.

A quick back story on how yesterday came about.

For over a year I'd thought about my idea. There is a wonderful charity called Cinderella's Closet that has been providing prom dresses for girls for the past 10 years. They now help over 300 girls every year, which is great.

I've done a lot of charity work the past decade and I've noticed that women are better at making foundations and charities that help women. They really support one another, and I felt it was time that men helped out each other. I know guys are just as caring and want to help, but often we don't think of how to help.

Look in sports. Breast cancer is huge and they have incorporated it into the NFL and CFL, a game played by men. Yes they have mothers, wives, sisters, but the players also have fathers, brothers and uncles. I've always wondered why Prostate cancer, for example, hasn't tried to work with pro leagues to gain awareness. It impacts the men who play the game and the fans who watch. Women are great at getting awareness out for their campaigns and they are great at supporting other women.

INSPIRATION

Cinderella's Closet inspired me to do something similar for boys. Boys would love to look good at their grad just as much as girls, and that is why I decided to come up with the Gregor Foundation.

It is impossible to start a foundation on your own. You need a lot of help, and I've had so many wonderfully generous people step up and offer their support.

My mother did all of the boring paperwork necessary to start a foundation. It took months to get approved, but we finally got the green light in January. Thanks Mom.

I knew if I asked my audience, predominantly men, here at the Nation and on TSN 1260 for suits they would come through. Many of us have a suit sitting in our closet that we haven't worn in years, but we hold out hope we'll fit it one day. It never happens, ha, but getting the suits was just one small step.

I realized I needed a building to store the suits and where the boys could come and try them on.

In February I called Greg Christenson. He owns CDL Homes and does a lot for charity. When I called Greg I just wanted to pick his brain about business contacts he knew that might possibly have some warehouse space. I told Greg my idea and what I needed. He called me back the next day and said he had a space he would donate to our foundation. He got me in touch with Lynne from CDL and said she would meet me, show me the space and arrange everything. One of the biggest hurdles was gone in a day. Unreal. Thanks again Greg and Lynne, you two are awesome. Your willingness to help your community is inspiring to me.

I had a space, I had an idea, but how was I going to get in touch with kids who needed suits?

Anne from Cinderella's closet (she was great in offering help and advice) graciously sent me a list of schools she had worked with. I called a few of them, but when I got in touch with Lawrence from Fresh Start he made a big difference. He contacted many of the schools himself and told them about us, and that got the ball rolling. Lawrence you are awesome.

Now I needed suits. I went on air and here and told you about our plan. You guys stepped up huge. We started receiving suits very quickly. It was great. Edmontontians are very generous and I knew you guys would get behind our initiative. Thank you so much for taking the time out of your day to drop off your suits. The kids really appreciated it.

Things kept getting better.

Rupinder from Page The Cleaner contacted me and offered to dry clean all the suits and shirts. I was floored. This was a huge savings for us and she even offered to make their central location, 11416, 142 street a drop off point. It would save us having to move the suits twice. Rupinder, I hope you and your staff know how much we appreciate you. THANK YOU.

Now the suits and shirts were pouring in, they were freshly cleaned and pressed and fitting day was getting closer. My wife and I spent a few weekends moving all the suits to our warehouse and sorting them in sizes on racks. It was going great, but then I realized I'd made a big oversight.

We had many suits in size 38-46, but we didn't have any 34 or 36 and many of the boys who had requested a suit were in that size range. That is when the man, who has been one of our biggest supporter, came through again.

WE ALL NEED SUPPORT

Sterling from Derks has been on board with this idea from day one. When I sat down with him and his brother Landon to talk about the idea, they jumped in with both feet. They offered up racks to store the suits on, offered to do alterations on the suits and said they'd help out in any way. They lived up to their word.

I called Sterling and told him about my suit shortage. He had an idea. He could get us some new suits from one of his suppliers at a very low rate. He challenged me to get donations to pay for 10 suits, and then Derks would match that and purchase 10 more. We needed about 20 smaller suits.

The next day, I went on air said I needed some help. I purchased the first suit and within two hours the other 10 were paid for by listeners. You guys are FREAKING awesome. Now we had our 20 smaller suits and fitting day was less than a week away.

My sister-in-law and niece made all the signs for different suit and shirt sizes, so we could see everything easier. Thank you Elise and Ava. I made some temporary change rooms in the warehouse, channeling my inner Red Green (If they don't find you handsome at least they'll find you handy) and we were ready to go.

FITTING DAY....

I've been lucky enough to be involved in many charitable events over the years and I'm always amazed at the generosity and support around Edmonton. I truly believe we have a wonderful community.

Yesterday's event impacted me more than I could have expected.

I had fitted a few boys who had grads sooner, but yesterday was the first day we would have multiple kids coming. Sterling was there to help out again. He has an unreal eye for fashion and he ensured we measured the kids properly and had them in a suit that would look great.

My mother-in-law Cheryl and her friend Pat were a huge help. They took all the measurements, filled out the forms and helped the boys with shirts, ties and everything else. At lunch time these wonderful ladies walked across the street and bought bags of brand new dress socks. This was our first year and we did forget somethings, socks, and it was such a wonderful gesture on their part. Thanks Pat and Cheryl.

The boys started to arrive at 10 a.m. and the last ones left around 3 p.m. They showed up with a parent or with a teacher from their school.

These young gentlemen made the day.

They were all incredibly polite, well-mannered and gracious. I was able to talk with each of them and find out something different about them. 

They all had a different story and a different personality, and were all a bit shy at first, but they warmed up as the fitting went along. It sure helped that Eddie from Papa Johns Pizza showed up with Pizza for everyone. There is no better icebreaker than offering up a 17-year-old boy pizza. Thanks Eddie for the food.

I could tell a story about each of them -- they all had unique stories and backgrounds -- but for me this one story sums up the day.

This is why you donated your suits or money.

Peter (not his real name) was a bit quiet, but very polite when he walked in the door. He was one of those boys that society had let fall through the cracks. He'd been through numerous foster homes in his life and never had a great role model. To put it politely he'd had a real tough life. He had suffered a bad accident recently and now he needs a wheelchair to get around most of the time.

But yesterday, Peter walked into our warehouse, with the help of a cane, with his head up and a smile on his face. Cheryl and Pat took down his information and then he walked over to the suits with Sterling. Sterling measured his chest, neck and waist and showed Peter a few options.

He picked out a nice grey suit. Sterling matched him with a sharp red shirt and a snappy tie. Peter went to our change room, sat down and changed. Sterling had to help him do up a few buttons on his shirt. He came out of the change room, Sterling tied his tie and then Peter walked slowly to the mirror.

I happened to be standing at an angle that allowed me to see his face when he saw his refection in the mirror. His face lit up as he stared in the mirror. I saw his eyes look at his tie, slide down to his chest and then down to his feet.

He had never seen himself in a suit before, and for that moment you could see pure joy.

That moment made it worthwhile for me. I had to turn away, because I didn't want him to see the tears in my eyes. Witnessing that much joy and happiness in others is a wonderful thing, and it wouldn't have happened without the help and support of so many of you. I wish you could have seen his face.

Traci and I want to thank all of you who donated suits, money or your time for helping these young boys. You helped make a special event, graduation, even better. For some of them they are the first generation in their family to graduate from high school, and that is a wonderful accomplishment. Others are just in need of some help to cover the financial cost of a suit, and with your help we were able to lessen that burden. 

To Peter and all of the boys. Thanks for being so polite and fun yesterday. You said thank you more often than you needed to, and we look forward to seeing your grad pictures.

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#1 Spaceman Spiff
May 14 2014, 11:05AM
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Love the anecdote of "Peter."

Kudos for embracing this worthwhile and totally unique cause, Jason. Great work.

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#2 David S
May 14 2014, 11:07AM
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Great idea and you followed it through. Well done!

BTW - Greg Christenson is a rock. Guy does alot behind the scenes for Edmonton's charitable community.

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#3 Megan
May 14 2014, 11:07AM
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Some kids from the school I teach at took advantage of your generosity, and I can't tell you how much it means to them to have a suit for the grad they thought would never happen. It's an unreal gesture, and it's very much appreciated.

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#4 #ThereGoesTheOilers
May 14 2014, 11:10AM
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That is fricking cool. Well done everyone. I love hearing about charity work like this.

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#5 David S
May 14 2014, 11:11AM
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Who the h3ll is trashing these comments?

Not cool man. Not cool.

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#6 Hall for Captain
May 14 2014, 11:13AM
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Kudos Gregor! Had a tear in my eye after reading this article. Congrats to all who helped with this initiative! Your continued generocity makes me proud to call myself an Edmontonian.

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#7 baggedmilk
May 14 2014, 11:14AM
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Great idea and a really cool cause. Well done, sir Gregor!

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#8 Oiler Al
May 14 2014, 11:21AM
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Congratulation on your special altruism towards these young men!World needs more people like you. Keep up the good works.

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#9 City of Champignons
May 14 2014, 11:22AM
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Great work! Thanks for sharing the story. Any chance you're still accepting suits? I just cleaned out my closet and have two nearly new suits I'd love for someone in need to have.

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#10 Chaz
May 14 2014, 11:23AM
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Will you guys be doing this again next year? Am sure there are more suits out there collecting dust. Great idea and great execution. Congrats to all involved!

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#11 Zamboni Driver
May 14 2014, 11:34AM
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@Biscept Maximus - aka f@g boy

Bravo Jason.

Hope the (definitely more than size 36) fella that gets my suit enjoys.

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#12 rubbertrout
May 14 2014, 11:35AM
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Incredible. Great work and a great cause.

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#13 Wonger
May 14 2014, 11:43AM
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rubbertrout wrote:

Incredible. Great work and a great cause.

I second that!!! Great work Gregor!!AGAIN!!!

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#14 biscep minimums
May 14 2014, 11:56AM
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Baggedmilk and David S. are incredibly handsome and talented. I wish they would befriend me. Oh what a wonderful day that would be.

bm edit

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#15 natedoo22
May 14 2014, 12:11PM
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The entire premise and the overwhelming support you received Jason is exactly why I still believe we are the City of Champions!!! Well done Gregor & thank you for doing work like this. Hearing you break down on the radio yesterday made getting out of my car at work a lil awkward though!.

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#16 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
May 14 2014, 12:13PM
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Damn, Gregor. Just... damn.

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#17 Oil is My Blood
May 14 2014, 12:27PM
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Thank you, Jason and Traci, and all your family and sponsors for continuing to make our city the City of Champions. I am so proud to be an Edmontonian and a member of OilersNation.

By the way, is that Beckett in the picture?

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#18 Dmac
May 14 2014, 12:31PM
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The power of good deeds like this can not be over looked. Sometimes in life all a young person needs something like this to turn things in the right direction.

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#19 mayorblaine
May 14 2014, 12:50PM
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Be proud for all the work you do in the community. Edmonton is better because of your heart.

Thanks.

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#20 Hat Pughes
May 14 2014, 12:52PM
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Gregor you are a pillar within the community with efforts like this....Bravo to you and to ALL of your supporters...this is all due to a Vision and a "Can Do" Attitude...

About the Breast Cancer / Prostate Cancer dynamic...some day over a beer we will discuss this. The dynamic interestingly enough is similiar to your Foundation's undertaking.

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#21 1manwolfpack
May 14 2014, 12:57PM
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I'll have to dig through my old closet at Dad's place but I'm pretty sure I have a smaller size that I'll be donating. I don't think I will be dropping 45lbs to fit into it any time soon!

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#22 Dean Belanger
May 14 2014, 01:04PM
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Two days in a row you have me teared up Gregor!

You mentioned on air yesterday that next year you are thinking of opening this up to volunteers. Please count me in!

I don't often tell this story, in fact I doubt any of the people I call friends in Edmonton have any idea. I don't exactly come from a life of privilege. My family was on social assistance for many years when I was a child and I have been working since I was 15 just to have anything. I put myself through school and now I enjoy a fantastic life. I love Edmonton and everything it has done for me. I honestly don't know how my Mom kept a roof over three kids heads but I am forever indebted to her...

I want to give back to people who like myself needed some breaks in life. Please let me know if there is ANYTHING I can do.

Great job and congrats to all involved.

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#23 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
May 14 2014, 01:22PM
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Once a suit is issued Jason, is it theirs to keep? One person helped, means the demand for new inventory still remains?

Between weddings, funerals, graduation and entering the work force, is it your goal/intention to make this a year round option for ones who need it? Dropped off a couple already, but found a few more I can part with.

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#24 mlcselli
May 14 2014, 01:27PM
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Acts of kindness like this makes for happy hearts. Jason, your parents did an amazing job raising you for you to share such kindness to people and organizations that really need a helping hand on a continuous basis. Thank you so much for everything you do. You are such a genuine and heart felt man.

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#25 Bob Cob
May 14 2014, 01:30PM
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Awesome idea Gregor! it's easy to forget what others may not have and how fortunate we really are, feels good to help others out.

On a different note, how did you get Rob Fords baby picture?

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#26 risto siltanen's slapshot
May 14 2014, 01:43PM
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I have three things to say 1)does rob ford have a kid? 2)why is the dust going into my eyes reading this? 3)great work gregor ,makes me proud to live in e town with people like you

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#27 Fresh Mess
May 14 2014, 02:19PM
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This is a very good thing Gregor. A very wonderful thing.

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#28 Benny Botts
May 14 2014, 02:21PM
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Awesome work Jason, you are doing the city of Edmonton proud.

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#31 The Towel Boy
May 14 2014, 03:07PM
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So much dust in my office right now ...got my allergies all actin' up.

Bravo, Jason.

As a kid who had to rely on the generosity of a distant relative to buy a 100 dollar Sears special to go to graduation, I can understand what this means to the recipients.

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#32 smiliegirl15
May 14 2014, 03:42PM
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Way to go Jason. You saw a need and you did something about it. Hopefully there are a lot more people out there who can help too. You need to develop something (one page photo with info) we can share on facebook to further spread the word.

Is that your little guy in the suit for the article? Love his cars tie!

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#34 Butters
May 14 2014, 07:40PM
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Awesome work Jason. I think even Robin Brownlee misted up a little on the radio today when he talked about your foundation. My allergies acted up a little while listening,

I will be sure to patronize all the businesses that supported you and encourage all ON readers to do the same.

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#35 Knobert
May 14 2014, 08:31PM
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Great story!

I am sure that you will have a line up of volunteers! Can't wait for next year.

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#36 Rick Hessels
May 15 2014, 08:42AM
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This is truly a story of inspiration. Well done Mr.Gregor!

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#37 Joe
May 15 2014, 08:45AM
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Wow ... this is one of the best pieces I've read in a long time. Great work!!

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#38 Czar
May 15 2014, 09:34AM
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Outstanding job Jason and once again I misted up from a Gregor article.

A shout out to your Mom who got the ball rolling and everyone else who helped out with this great cause!

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#39 Eulers
May 15 2014, 11:21AM
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Jason, you are a class act. I'm sure your father is beaming with pride looking down from heaven at what his son has become. Thanks for sharing!

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