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Elora man goes the extra mile to help friend in need

'Seeing his generosity for the people around him was kind of what led me to want to do something for him with what I could'

ELORA – A friend in need is the inspiration behind a marathon event being organized by an Elora man.

Liam DeBoer is planning to run four miles every four hours, for 48 hours, in Fergus on March 5 to raise $5,000 for his friend Craig Laur and his business CJL Artistry after Laur was seriously injured in a workplace accident.

The money will go toward a month’s worth of expenses for the business, including rent, electricity and more.

“As far as his business goes, his business is just sitting idle,” he explains, “and I wanted to make sure he had something to go back to after this.”

DeBoer and Laur met while DeBoer was the bar manager and bartender at Northern Maverick Brewing Co. in Toronto. 

As a regular at Northern Maverick, DeBoer says Laur became friends with the staff and was known for his generosity through his tips and even offered some staff a job with his company during the first wave of COVID.

“Seeing his generosity for the people around him was kind of what led me to want to do something for him with what I could,” explains DeBoer.

DeBoer says CJL Artistry was struggling to find a steady revenue stream after the pandemic hit. Once offering local event builds, the business pivoted to renovation work before resorting to freelance work.

Then there was the workplace accident that provided additional setbacks for Laur and his employees.

“A friend of his had come by to help him with a job, and his friend’s nail gun had an issue,” says DeBoer about what happened.

“So Craig unhooked it, and took all the proper precautions,” he continues, “But when he opened up the inside of the actual gun, there was something that was jammed inside, whether it was a spring or a sliver of some sorts, that unloaded as soon as he took the cap off the nail gun, and it came firing up right into his eye.”

In a video made by DeBoer, Laur talks about getting hit in the eye and going to the emergency room at Toronto General. At the hospital, Laur was told he cut his eyeball open, and if it becomes infected, they would have to remove his eye.

“I’ve had cuts and I’ve had bruises, and I’ve pinched my finger real bad, but I’ve never had anything so devastating,” says Laur in the video, “It felt like I got hit by a truck.”

“Right now they’re optimistic he’ll regain vision,” says DeBoer, “But they’re not 100 per cent sure.”

Feeling there wasn’t enough being done by political leaders to support businesses and those struggling to find work, DeBoer says he isn’t one to wait for opportunities and decided to organize this fundraiser.

“The time that I do have available that I wanted to spend it wisely,” says DeBoer, “And if I can help someone out in the meantime, that means I’ve spent my time wisely.”

Since starting the campaign back in January, he has raised over $1,700 for CJL Artistry.

DeBoer mentions other local businesses have also reached out to support his campaign, like Herbal Bliss in Guelph, which donated 25 per cent of its proceeds in online sales during February to the campaign.

“It was cool to see other local businesses hopping in,” comments DeBoer, “That’s why I think it is so important to keep local businesses strong, because they’re the ones that give back...the community sense is built by small businesses.”

DeBoer adds Laur is amazed at the support of other local businesses and friends who contributed to the campaign.

“I think it’s pretty cool to see that all being reversed and they’re all willing to do the same,” says DeBoer about people giving back after experiencing Laur's generosity, “Craig has been pretty blown away by it.”

Donations for CJL Artistry are being accepted until Mar 13. Those interested in making a donation can do so here.