May 29, 2013 - Somebody get Enbridge, Inc. a white hat and a mask because the Canadian-based energy distribution company just saved the day.
Enbridge agreed to donate $5,000 to help finance the Hollywood-style sneak preview of Disney's new Lone Ranger movie starring Armie Hammer as the masked hero and Johnny Depp as Tonto.
The event will be held at the Oxford 7 Theater (48 S. Washington St.) on Tuesday, July 2 at 8 p.m.
"We have a long history of partnering with communities in which we operate," explained Enbridge Spokesman Jason Manshum.
Approximately 6.5 miles of Enbridge's Line 6B runs through Oxford Township.
Line 6B is a 285-mile crude oil pipeline that begins in Indiana, crosses southeastern Michigan and ends in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada. It serves refineries in Michigan, Ohio and eastern Canada.
Later this year, Enbridge plans to replace approximately 50 miles of Line 6B from Ortonville to the St. Clair River in Marysville. Oxford's right in between.
"We have been aggressively pursuing community investment opportunities (through which) we can help the well-being of those in communities (where) Line 6B exists," Manshum said.
"I'm certain the entire Oxford community is appreciative of what Enbridge is doing to help us celebrate the Lone Ranger and the character's connection to our community through our most famous citizen, Brace Beemer," said Rod Charles, chairman of the Lone Ranger Committee.
Beemer was the radio voice of the Lone Ranger from 1941-54. He lived in Oxford for many years on a 300-acre farm called "Paint Creek Acres" on W. Drahner Rd.
Beemer, who died in 1965, brought the masked lawman to life in more than 2,000 broadcasts that reached over 80 million listeners across 129 radio stations nationwide.
Charles noted Enbridge's donation is indicative of the "enthusiasm" people have for the Lone Ranger character.
"It shows the universal appeal of the Lone Ranger and the ideals he stands for," he said. "I think a lot of people really like those ideals – things like God and country. It may sound a little hokey nowadays to some, but those ideals are timeless and they continue to resonate with most people."
Manshum said Enbridge was "very happy" to help fund this community event for Oxford.
"I'm glad (Oxford) came to Enbridge to partner with us," he said. "It sounds like a huge landmark for your community. I hope it's very successful. I wish you the best."
Manshum called Oxford's Lone Ranger sneak preview "a good fit" for Enbridge because one of the company's "three focus areas" when it comes to "community investment" (i.e. donations and grants) is "social and cultural enrichment and education."
"Examples of that are 4-H (Club), community theater programs, United Way, (other) non-profits," Manshum said.
The other two focus areas are "well-being" (this covers everything from funding cancer research to helping victims of natural disasters to awarding grants to first-responder agencies) and "environment" (this includes environmental stewardship, energy conservation and groups like Ducks Unlimited and Trout Unlimited).
"We believe it's essential to do our part to make communities healthy, safe and ultimately, a better place to live," Manshum said.
Enbridge's $5,000 donation will be combined with Oxford Bank's $2,500 donation to fund the movie sneak preview.
Organizers estimated the movie event will cost about $5,000, so the remaining $2,500 from Enbridge will be put toward funding the Lone Ranger statue and covering any expenses for Oxford's Lone Ranger parade Saturday, Aug. 3 at 11 a.m.
For many years, there's been an on-again-off-again effort to get a Lone Ranger statue erected in Oxford. Right now, the statue fund has approximately $4,900 in it.
Plans are to sell tickets to the July 2 sneak preview for $20 each to raise money for the statue fund. The sneak preview is limited to 259 seats. Details regarding ticket sales are still being worked out, but will be released soon.
The statue would celebrate Beemer's legacy and Oxford's historical connection to the Lone Ranger. This year marks the 80th anniversary of the Lone Ranger radio program, which made its debut on WXYZ radio in Detroit on January 30, 1933. A total of 2,956 radio episodes aired.
CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.