When Kirby and Marie Fontaine won $50,000,000 from the Manitoba Lottery Corporation, they promised to make positive changes to their Sagkeeng First Nation community, 150 km from Winnipeg. From many reports of people who know the couple, and from their own words and actions, the lottery win could not have happened to two nicer people. At their press conference in November, partially paralyzed Kirby and wife Marie, said that they had been down to their last few dollars. They were clearly happy, and had much to smile about. They were smiling at not only improving their own lot -outlook, and actual dwelling - but also that of the community they shared with others.
They are making good on their promise to help by funding three school breakfast and hot lunch programs, funding make-work projects that not only employ those who would otherwise have to move away for work, but beautifying the community that is, and will remain in their homes. Kids are concentrating more on learning and less on empty bellies, and there are fewer discipline problems says one school principal.
Marie and Kirby are living many people's dreams right now, by being able to make and see their community improve, in a fast way. At any time of year, to this First Nation couple we can say, "That's the spirit!"