For the uninitiated, a reference to “Mount Baldy” may sound like a snide nickname for a tall bald person. Actually, Mt. Baldy is a mountain in Alberta that stands sentry over Barrier Lake that, at 7,192 feet high, is a true challenge for mountain climbers.
Pat Richardson, a World Financial Group associate from Winnipeg, MB, and an avid mountain climber, saw another way to make the mountain a challenge. With Salvation Army Captain Les Marshall, a fourth-generation pastor with the Prairie Canada Salvation Army division that covers the provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan, Pat and his wife, Susan, helped spearhead a fundraiser to see which WFG office could plant their provincial flag on the summit of Mt. Baldy.
Associates from Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia answered the challenge. On Sept. 7, 2010, 60 WFG associates climbed Mt. Baldy. Among them was WFG associate Mason Stewart. A few years ago, Mason went on a mission to Africa to build a school, and while there, he climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. Upon his return to Canada in late 2009, he joined WFG to continue helping families. On this excursion, Mason led groups up two-thirds of Mt. Baldy, remaining at about 6,000 ft. to maintain radio contact with those that continued to climb and those who remained at base camp.
Also climbing were WFG associates Les and Julie Parks from Kelowna, BC, along with six associates from their office — three of whom made the summit. For Julie, this was her first climb up a mountain, and she loved the experience. “I loved being on a sharp rocky peak – about 6,000 ft. or so [up in the air] – feeling a sense of accomplishment at climbing [so high] and enjoying a spectacular view.” The Mt. Baldy climb inspired the Parks to reach out to their local Salvation Army chapter. And Calgary, Alberta QMD Shawn Marshall and his wife, Susan, made the climb. In fact, through Shawn’s tireless efforts to promote the climb up Mt. Baldy, his office brought in more than half of the climb’s participants.
Not all 60 associates made it to the top. But 21 of them, led by Pat, made it to the 7,192-ft. summit. Among them was WFG associate Tony Torka, who only recently joined World Financial Group. Tony believes WFG is an opportunity to obtain a financial education, and he saw the opportunity to climb Mt. Baldy as a way of giving back to the community. He even helped plant the winning provincial flag of Manitoba on the peak.
But the real winner was the “Summits of Change” event benefiting the Salvation Army. With close to $25,000 raised by the group, the money will support the Salvation Army’s human trafficking prevention program and help vulnerable women transition back into society in the three provinces. Click on the link above to see photos and videos of this monumentous climb!
Captain Marshall praised WFG for their “natural partnership” and “similar mission” in helping families. In fact, the captain’s family lineage can be traced all the way back to the founding of the Salvation Army by William Booth. And speaking of William Booth, there’s a mountain in Alberta named after him. Does anyone want to guess which mountain WFG and the Salvation Army are planning to climb next year?