They call themselves Jordahl Strong. It doesn’t take long to figure out where the name came from. “There are three out of four of us gone now. I’m the only one left.” Cheryl Hewitt says while choking back emotions. She’s lost three siblings, the latest her brother, Ricky Jordahl, who died in December 2015.
Team Jordahl Strong was created for The Coldest Night of the Year (CNOY). The national event raises money and awareness for the homeless and the hurting. On February 25, 2017, tens of thousands of Canadians walked in 113 cities.
“It’s a good turnout, it’s a legacy,” Cheryl says proudly during the walk.
With every step, Cheryl’s family and friends were thinking about Ricky, who was homeless for 18 years. “He passed away in his home, which was in an alley, behind a liquor store. He didn’t freeze. He passed away from heart disease,” says Ricky’s cousin, Carrie Jordahl.
Joe Deol also walked in the event. He’s the owner of Tops Liquor Store, which is located by the alley where Ricky was found. Ricky was his friend. He says he let him sleep in his store while it was open for business. “Otherwise if he went outside he would get hurt. I was trying to protect him. I told him don’t go anywhere. Stay inside sleep here, otherwise he would get drunk out there and people would beat him.” Joe says Ricky loved his family and he drove him home to Castor to see them.
Carrie says her cousin struggled with mental health issues and addictions.
She says, “(the streets) had become his home he didn’t want to burden his family with his issues. He didn’t want to go home until he was able to get sober.”
Carrie is proud of her team. As the leading fundraiser in Edmonton South, it raised more than $6,000. She says Cheryl isn’t alone, she has Jordahl Strong. “This is going to be an annual thing. Next year we have more ideas. Our starting goal will be 6,000 dollars. We are not done.”