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Alberta car guys buy grieving Red Deer family’s classic car three times – then give it back!

Norris McDonald
Written by Norris McDonald

In this photo submitted to the rdnewsNOW website by Ben Keryluke, Brent and Nicole Keryluke are seen with their children, 3-year-old Liam and 6-year-old Arielle.

This incredible story was initially reported at the weekend by Evan Armstrong and Roy Gillard of the Red Deer, Alta., Internet site rdnewsNOW (Everything Red Deer). It was told on television by Global News and was the subject of a radio interview by CBC Radio’s As It Happens.

It’s about the tragic deaths of an Alberta couple who left behind two young children. To raise money to help raise the kids, the family opted to auction off a 1973 Pontiac Parisienne that the children’s father had been restoring.

What happened next is the surprise.

A big surprise.

Read on:

EMOTIONAL CLASSIC CAR AUCTION

STUNS FAMILY OF COUPLE KILLED IN CRASH

By Evan Armstrong and Roy Gillard

The generosity of car lovers made for an incredibly heartwarming moment in Red Deer this past weekend.

Brent and Nicole Keryluke were killed on May 5 of this year after the motorcycle they were riding collided with a truck near Innisfail. Brent was 35-years-old while Nicole was 34.

They left behind two young children – 3-year old Liam and 6-year-old Arielle – who are now being cared for by their grandparents with help from other family members.

On Saturday, Brent’s father Ben and his wife Marilyn took a 1973 Pontiac Parisienne Brent had been working on to the Electric Garage car auction at Westerner Park. The idea was to sell the car to help raise money to cover medical and other costs for Liam and Arielle, who suffer from hearing impairments.

The 1973 Pontiac Parisienne is ready to be auctioned off.

EG Auctions co-owner Lindsey Payne says they were approached by a friend of the Keryluke family who wanted to know if there was anything he could do to help them sell their car.

“When I read more about the story, I just started thinking, I’ve been down for the (Barrett)  Jackson auctions in the States, and they kind of do a big production and make kind of special moment out the entire auction,” Payne recalled.

What it morphed into was an amazing show of support for the Keryluke family.

The car initially sold to Rob McWilliam of Red Deer Motors for $29,000. He in turn donated the car back and it sold a second time to Danny Fayad from Edmonton for $30,000.

Fayad, too, donated the car back and it sold a third time to Bob Bevins, owner of Bulldog Metals in Red Deer. Bevins then made the incredible gesture of donating the car back to the Kerylukes.

“It really couldn’t have gone any better,” Payne admitted. “It way exceeded my expectations, so it was awesome.

“Everybody was emotional, just hearing the story and seeing little Liam and Arielle just brought it all home. And meeting Ben and Marilyn, they’re such wonderful people, they were up on stage, I think everybody just wanted to help them in whatever possible way they could.”

The experience is one Payne won’t forget anytime soon.

“There was a standing ovation, and people were cheering and clapping, and there was tears, lots of hugs, it was amazing. I’m still somewhat speechless about it and I just get chocked up at the generosity of these people of central Alberta.”

Ben says it’s hard to describe what took place.

Grandfather Ben prepares to drive Liam and Arielle home in the Pontiac after the auction.

“It was far more than what we could have ever dreamt of. [We] didn’t want to sell the car but due to circumstances we thought it was the only option. So we went and the people at the auction were unbelievable right from the start… we were just blown away by the generosity of people and what all took place was just incredible.”

Keryluke says the support they’ve received from across central Alberta, and Canada, continues to be overwhelming.

“I’ve got calls today from Toronto, and it’s amazing how news gets around when people show this kind of kindness, it’s unbelievable.”

In total, about $100,000 was raised.