Flocks of plastic flamingos took over the lawns of many people during the month of May and raised thousands of dollars to help a family.
Speden’s Army Flocking Fundraiser came up as a way to help Shannon Peden’s family pay for huge medical bills from an emergency while on a vacation to the U.S. this past spring.
Shannon died May 15 after a two-and-a-half-year battle with brain cancer.
“I had decided I wanted to do something so I decided to do the flamingos. I’d seen it once before and looked it up online,” said Nina, flamingo wrangler and organizer of Speden’s Army Flocking Fundraiser that took place throughout May.
She got her kids involved and says it was difficult in that they wanted to wait until dark to put the flocks on people’s lawns.
They made more than $7,000, she says.
That’s with more than 90 lawns being “flocked,” some more than once.
“The community was awesome,” says Nina. “They’re a very generous community. I was blown away by the generosity.”
To have a person’s lawn flocked, it cost $20 and another $5 would ensure the flock wouldn’t come back to the original person’s lawn.
To have the flock removed also cost $20 and another $5 would send the flock to a specific person. There was also $5 insurance to ensure the flock wouldn’t return.
Sometimes it was good that a person bought insurance or they would’ve been flocked several times, she adds.
A sign was put along with the flamingos stating “Congratulations, you’ve been flocked by Speden’s Army.”
And on the back of the sign was an envelope in a zip-lock bag with a phone number to call or text so people could contact the “highly trained professionals” to remove the birds.
“Everyone was just amazing,” says Nina, adding it involved a lot of driving as they ended up placing flocks on lawns not just in Terrace but also in Thornhill and Jackpine.
“We did three lawns a night so we had three flocks going,” she says, adding that each flock was about 15 birds.
She and her co-flamingo wranglers only got caught a couple of times by homeowners.
“Some would want to pay right away so we could flock an extra person [that same night],” she says. “One day, we moved the flock six times. It was totally exhausting but worth it.”
She decided from the start not to do businesses but did one business when an employee approached her, so one day a flock appeared in front of the Remax office downtown.
And someone paid to have Terraceview flocked every day for a week.
Terraceview staff all became involved and paid to remove the flock plus they held a few fundraisers of their own to help out.
And the Ian Bagg comedy fundraiser show at the REM Lee Theatre was the final flocking with all of the flamingos making an appearance in front of the theatre.
“Between what we did and the [Ian Bagg comedy show], the family was able to pay everything off,” she says about the medical bills, adding there were also random donations from people to add to the total.
A few flamingos were injured when some kids shot them with pellet guns but only one was shot so badly it couldn’t be used again.