The Bruno Project

The Bruno Project, 20' x 24", by Russell and Ben Thomas, acrylic on canvas, inspired by a photo by Mitch Hippsley

So, a couple of days ago I posted a blog called "Just Bruno", thinking that it would just sit out there in the Internet ether, benignly waiting for someone to see it that might have some wisdom about this man from my distant past.  Wow!  Was I wrong.  The stories, memories and insights began pouring in almost immediately, as did requests to purchase the painting, or possibly prints of it.

As best that I can tell, someone in Yorkton - where Bruno lived in the final phase of his life - shared the blog post on the "You know you grew up in Yorkton SK if you remember..." Facebook group.  All of a sudden, people from that area started reading the post by the hundreds.  I have been deeply touched by those who reached out and shared what this man, who chose to live simply, meant to them.

Out of all the posts I have written, well over 1000 now, "Just Bruno" is currently the 7th most read, with almost 1,800 visitors.  I am shocked and delighted that so many people - people who have a connection to east-central Saskatchewan but who are now scattered across the country - have taken a pause in their busy lives to remember this principled man who drifted through our communities (Kamsack then Yorkton) over 30 years ago.

"The Bruno Project" will help raise money for the United Way Community Fund at a special event being hosted by the Centre of Hope called the KD Gala, "KD" referring to Kraft Dinner.  It is a marvellous annual dinner that raises awareness about people who are experiencing homelessness in Fort McMurray.  The painting will be one of several items that will be auctioned off, with all the proceeds going to this great cause.  People who have a direct connection to this story, no matter where you now reside, can put in a reserve bid, as someone from the other end of Canada has already done.  All I would ask is that you send me a private email at russell@birdsongconnections.com.

Linda Norberg-Duke shared this clipping from a Yorkton newspaper.  It is a touching piece that reveals a little more about the person thousands of us knew as just Bruno.




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