My WPG: Ryan DeLong

My WPG: Ryan DeLong

My WPG is a series introducing you to awesome Winnipeggers who share our passion for community-building and localism. In our latest post, meet the man behind Pay It Forward Winnipeg, Ryan DeLong.

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Not all heroes wear capes. Story time! I co-run a Facebook page called Pay it Forward Winnipeg and a kind stranger named Roland Flaig contacted me with 2 Tickets to John Mellencamp. He said to do as I please with them. So I decided to have a draw where people would “comment” who they would take to the show. There were about 40 entries including another kind stranger named Meg Ludlow who nominated this man (who is a stranger to her). She read about him in the paper and wanted him to be presented with the tickets. Doug Thomas witnessed a homeless man being beat up recently and intervened as he felt the man was defenceless. Well, Doug received the brunt of the attack and almost went blind from his injuries. A broken hand and multiple battle scars later, some (including myself) deem this man a hero. I gladly presented him with a pair of tickets and I feel honoured to be the middle man of this amazing string of kind gestures amongst numerous strangers. Keep it up Winnipeg. #payitforward #payitforwardwinnipeg @aceburpee

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My story: my name is Ryan DeLong. I’m 32 and I work at Manitoba Hydro. I’ve been there for 10 years. I've been married to my lovely wife Mackenzie for three years. We have a dog named Wilfred and two cats named Simon and Lip. We both care deeply for animal rights and the environment. I’ve lived in Winnipeg my entire life and am a major patriot for this city. So much so that I have a Winnipeg/Manitoba/Canada dedicated tattoo sleeve featuring the Jets logo, my Manitoba license plate, a mosquito, Dancin’ Gabe and the “Confusion Corner” logo. I like to think of myself as the biggest Winnipeg Jets fan and was recently cast in a Budweiser Commercial as a Jets superfan.

I used to work in the film industry as an actor, assistant director and extra. Over the past few years I’ve been trying to get back into it as a hobby, taking acting classes and auditioning a ton. I took three years of film studies at the University of Manitoba and truly have a passion for film. I enjoy analyzing movies and annoying my friends when they say a movie was good and I break it down why it wasn’t good. Two years ago I started a Facebook page called Pay It Forward Winnipeg. Essentially I was sick of negative news always in the media and decided to create the page to only post good things. From time to time I think of ideas on how I can make this city a better place and post them to the page.

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Please read! As everyone is aware, the Winnipeg Jets have clinched a playoff spot which means... WHITEOUT TIME! Last year I went to a handful of street parties and also got lucky enough to go to a few games. For those of you who also attended, you might remember how amazing the community rallied together for the run. There were people from all walks of life bonding over our run. I remember hearing an interview with Mark Chipman saying how impressed he was with our community and he wanted to make the environment inclusive. This interview got me thinking. I saw numerous homeless people getting in on the excitement, cheering and wearing Jet gear. It was great that they were able to celebrate, but wouldn’t it be better to have one ATTEND A GAME? A few days ago I met with my longtime friend Trisha Kulathungam about this idea and she is giving me a pair of tickets to take a homeless person to a playoff game to experience the noise first hand in the building. I have teamed up with Jordan Farber and Rick Lees from Main Street Project to make this happen. The two of them are going to select a much deserving person to go to Game 5(if necessary. If not, then Round 2-Game 2) with me. But we don’t just want to take them to the game. Here’s where you can help... We want to give this amazing individual a possible life changing experience. We would like to give them a makeover of sorts and deck them out with whiteout gear, food, new shoes, new clothes, a haircut, a manicure, new socks, anything we can! If you own a salon, clothing store, barber shop, etc, message me directly. If you would like to donate money, Jets gear, clothing, anything! Message me directly! If you’d like to help out in any WAY, SHAPE OR FORM, message me directly! Let’s make this playoff run something special for this community! Thank you Trisha, Jordan and Rick for your generous help! #gojetsgo #mainstreetproject #payitforward #payitforwardwinnipeg #wpgwhiteout #whiteout #nhl #stanleycup #stanleycupplayoffs @mainstreetproject

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My hood: I grew up in Waverley Heights but now live in Charleswood. I love it because every day we have deer in our yard and it’s like country living within city limits.

My go-to takeout: Wendy’s: two Junior Bacon Cheeseburgers and small fries  

My ideal date night: A spring bike ride with the wife and dog followed by a Jets playoff game.

My guilty pleasure: A Goofy Movie soundtrack and Boy Meets World. I really like childhood nostalgia.

My favourite local patio: Probably Original Joe's on Kenaston.

My favourite local brunch spot: Definitely Clementine.

My ideal day off: Wake up early, make Eggs Benedict, take the dog for a bike ride, watch any movie by PT Anderson or starring Daniel Day Lewis, play with the pup and go to a Jets game for dessert. 

My favourite local event: CIBC Run for the Cure and Canada Day at the Forks.

My best-kept secret: Ooooooohhhh! Little Brown Jug. Clementine. Segovia. Passero.

My favourite local band: Crash Test Dummies.

My favourite splurge: Shirts from local businesses and breweries.

My favourite place to take out-of-towners: The Forks!

Best bang for my buck: No Frills baby!

One place I can’t walk into without buying something: The Forks.

My favourite day trip or weekend away: My wife and I and another couple rent a cabin once a year at Clearwater Bay. Beautiful lake.

One thing I want everyone to know about Winnipeg: I’ve traveled to 29 countries and despite the potholes, the mosquitoes and the weather, there’s no place that I’d rather live than Winnipeg. People have told me, “Well that’s because you’re biased and haven’t lived anywhere else!” And I say, “Yes, BUT the reason I love it is because of the people.”

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#winnipeg @thesimpsonstattoo

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