The owners of the only fuel stop and general store in the Hamlet of Granum said they can't thank the community enough for helping them after their business was damaged. 

On May 3rd, RCMP said that a suspect or suspects attempted to steal gas from JP's Petro & General Store. 

The gas pump hoses were damaged, causing a large fuel spill that led to the area being shut down for hours while it was cleaned up.

The incident was devastating to Vicky Beresford and her husband who have owned the store since 2007, expanding it from a simple gas station to a convenience store, liquor store, and a meeting place.

Beresford told High River Online and Okotoks Online that since the incident, friends, family, and community members started a GoFundMe page and an account at the local ATB for people to e-transfer funds.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the GoFundMe has raised nearly $2,400.

Holding back tears, Beresford explained that the amount of community support was unlike anything she had ever seen in all her years living in the community.

The hamlet has even organized a benefit auction during its Canada Day celebrations to help the business. 

“They pretty much redid our Canada Day celebrations to be focused around us and fundraising with the auction. So, we've had donations come in for the auction and that's going to be held here in Granum,” said Beresford, who noted the auction will help tremendously, given the large costs of cleanup they still must deal with. 

“We just got a bill last week to clean up our lot and it's going to cost us $232,000 and our insurance is only covering $100,000 and then when these guys broke into our holding tanks and let all that fuel release, it also rolled across the road and ran all down into the empty Willow Creek land and because we own the product, we're responsible to pay to clean that up too, which the insurance also does not cover,” she said. 

Beresford was hoping that insurance would cover more for the cleanup, given they have a $4 million third-party liability and $500,000 for hazardous material cleanup. 

Regardless, Beresford said she can’t believe the community she grew up in is sacrificing their time and money to help them get through this difficult patch.  

“As catastrophic as this has been for us as the owners and running this whole much more good has come out of this than what has happened to us,” she said. “I've never seen anything like it.” 

The benefit auction for JP’s Petro and General Store runs July 1st at 304 Aberdeen St. In Granum. 

You can find more details about the auction on the Friends of JP’s Facebook Page.

The Radiothon is tomorrow, Thursday on The Eagle 100.9The Radiothon is tomorrow, Thursday on The Eagle 100.9