Although Jeff’s family roots are in the province of Manitoba, he truly fell in love with Winnipeg during a successful career as Assistant Director of Football Operations and Medical Coordinator/Head Therapist with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
Most recently, through Jeff’s need to improve the lives of others, he has spearheaded a program to provide spinal cord injury patients with the opportunity of fellowship and access to sport and wellness that previously many have been unable to receive. Not only is Jeff a hero in the eyes of many Winnipeggers, his wife Melanie and son Sam can attest that his devotion to creating a better world for all around him, is most felt at home.
Danny Kleinsasser, the owner of Danny’s Whole Hog, is a successful, well known, highly regarded local business man in Manitoba. Danny’s employees see him as a supportive, personal mentor and a great encouragement to them in their own personal growth, but much more than that Danny is also a very generous and compassionate human being.
He remains a community-man; supporting many local events in the Interlake including Ride for Dad, Ride for Mom, goose shoots, the MS Society and many more. He also plays a big role in the hunting and fishing scene in Manitoba, sponsoring professional anglers like Todd Longley by donating food to the Generation Next Angler Fishing Tournaments, which aims to introduce children and youth and their families to the sport of fishing. Danny’s involvement with charities, the community, the fishing industry, his commitment to being a family-man and his caring, generous and absolutely selfless demeanor are why many Manitobans view him as their hero.
In 2015, Samantha’s mother Tina saw a Facebook post about 11 year old, Allexis Siebrecht, who was in desperate search of a liver donor. As a Board Member and survivor of liver disease, Tina was well acquainted with the Canadian Liver Foundation, and with Allexis and her mother, and knowing that Samantha was already on the bone marrow transplant list, brought it to her attention.
After taking a week off from work and flying to Toronto to undergo the necessary tests, it was revealed that her liver was not anatomically appropriate for transplant. Although upset and disappointed, this did not deter Samantha, she was still determined to help. Samantha returned to Winnipeg to meet Allexis and her mother for the first time and then undertook several fundraising events and more media interviews to encourage awareness and raise funds for Allexis’ travel and medical expenses, should one of the potential donors result in a match for her. Events included the #HelpSaveAllexis Bracelet Blitz Fundraiser, a BBQ at Co Op and the #HelpSaveAllexis Bud, Spud & Steak Fundraiser. Samantha worked tirelessly emailing requests for donations, running around collecting prizes, organizing and volunteering at the events and graciously speaking to all media who asked. Many new potential organ donors came forward to register with Transplant Manitoba and Samantha raised approximately $30,000. Allexis did end up getting her liver from a deceased donor and she and Samantha now have a friendship and a bond that will last a lifetime.
Big Daddy Tazz
Big Daddy Tazz has been bringing the laughter to national television audiences, festivals, fundraisers and corporate events for the last twenty five years. A keynote speaker, who likes to enlighten, educate and inspire.
Tazz, known as the Bi-Polar Buddha, diligently travels North America with his “Stand-Up Against Stigma” campaign, speaking openly about his mental illnesses to help eliminate the stigma associated with being diagnosed with a mental illness. His latest endeavour, “Running A.M.O.K (Actively Motivating Our Kids)” has Tazz visiting schools across Manitoba in his NT Bully (Anti-Bully) Machine, a sparkle pink, teal and purple jeep. Tazz delights students of all ages pontificating on the value of self. If you believe in your own self, then no one can bully you, nothing can hold you back, and achieving your dreams are a mere thought away. Once the students take the “NT Bully Oath” they head outside and add their signature to the Jeep, which currently boasts over 2000 signatures!
Ian Rabb says confessing his need for help was the first step on his road to recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. He came from a loving family, but never felt quite good enough, he felt like an outsider. With the help of his father and a law enforcement officer, Ian began his road to recovery. But that is only the beginning of his story. Now he works tirelessly to support those who want to create a better life and remain free from addiction. Many have little or no life skills, education, or job opportunities, but through the guidance of the homes Ian has established, they have become contributing members of society.
Ian travels internationally as a speaker for the addictions industry. He has had numerous achievements including: being nominated as a Finalist for the Scotiabank Game changers (celebrating local heroes) in 2012; he was awarded the Queens Diamond Jubilee medal in 2012; he is a Voices-forum chair and participant on the Provincial Meth Task force. Ian was also appointed to the Homelessness Task Force, the board of End Homelessness Winnipeg and the Community Advisory Board for The Homelessness Partnering Strategy. He has worked extensively on the boards of: Jewish Child and family services, the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba, the Tamarac Rehab and the Health Science Centre Foundation. Ian has dedicated his life to saving lives, supporting families torn apart by addiction and to his passion of ending homelessness in Winnipeg.