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Mac’s Musings: The city cop who cheated death

Claude McIntosh ~ Mac's Musings
Mac’s Musings: The city cop who cheated death
Claude McIntosh.

Cornwall has had one police officer killed in the line of duty. Special Const. Robert Davey, 47, was shot to death on Sept. 6, 1892, his first day on the job.
A preliminary hearing on May 6, 1963 for a 31-year-old city resident charged with causing bodily harm (an attempted murder charge was dropped) was told how on Christmas morning 1962 the city came close to having a second officer killed in the line of duty.
Const. Ford McGillis, 28, married with a young child and his wife pregnant, took a shotgun blast in the chest during an early-morning call to a city home. He did not have a pulse or blood pressure when wheeled into the Hotel Dieu Hospital emergency department.
He was revived and for the next few hours his life was in the hands of city surgeon Dr. Ralph Randlett who removed 64 pellets from two chest wounds. He was assisted by four other city doctors who responded to a call for help at about 4 a.m..
One of the doctors, Zbigniew Gorecki, a talented and respected chest specialist in charge of the St. Lawrence Sanatorum which treated tuberculosis patients, told the hearing that the officer cheated death.
“It was a Christmas miracle,” he said. “He cheated death. If not for an exceptionally good constitution (and physical condition), he would not have survived.”
In 1973, Gorecki, involved in a nasty custody battle, would be convicted of shooting to death his estranged wife and given a life sentence.
Police said some of the pellets from the blast were deflected by McGillis’ badge, which might have help save his life.
McGillis was back to work several months later, serving out his career as a dispatcher and court officer.
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While the dusting of snow on the weekend didn’t have weather watchers poring over the record book, it was unusual.
Up until 1963 the May record snowfall for Cornwall and area was 2.2 inches, set in 1943.
But a freak snow storm which swept through Cornwall and the United Counties on May 10, 1963 didn’t just break the May record. It smashed it. There hasn’t been anything close since. It dumped seven inches of snow on the city and area. Fanned by high winds, the storm toppled several trees and power was out for three in hours in rural parts of the counties.
The storm caught residents offguard. Forcast was rain with a low of 35F and high of 55F.
ALSO THIS WEEK 1963 – St. Columban’s Hall on Pitt Street, next to the Bell Telephone building, was torn down. The hall was purchased by the parish in 1922 and over the years was used by Cornwall Local 2307 United Brotherhood of Carpenters, the legion branch and Cornwall Labour Temple. The hall also played host to Saturday night teen dances in the late 1950s. … Cornwall Police Commission passed a bylaw allowing members of the force to participate in the OMERS pension plan. … The federal and provincial governments were pressuring the city to construct a new sewage treatment plant capable of serving 60,000 residents. The feds would pay two-thirds of the cost while the province would provide an interest-free loan for the rest of the cost. … Cadet Lt.-Col. Michael Lussier was appointed commanding officer of the St. Lawrence High School cadet corps. Cadet Major Richard Paulin was second-in-command. … A survey carried out for Savemart Shopping Centre found 90% of 2,343 residents surveyed in favour of evening shopping. A city bylaw prohibited night-time shopping except on Fridays, until 9 o’clock. … Rev. Evariste Martin was to be ordained at Nativity Church on May 23 while Rev. Kelvin Maloney was to be ordained at St. Andrew’s on June 2. … At the SLHS athletic dinner, Ron Barrie was named recipient of the Jacques Richard Memorial Trophy as the athlete who best combined ability and sportsmanship. John Billing was named outstanding athlete, Les Newman most valuable junior basketball player and Wayne Lauber track and field MVP. … Holy Cross was JOC Broomball League champions. Team members were Larry Bickerstaffe, Paul Longtin, Bill Degray, Claude Levac, Royal Lariviere, Jacque Pitre, Ray Lalonde, Laurier Leduc, Phillip Levac, Roger Lamoureux, Roger Gauthier and Gerry Trembaly.
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With Premier Doug Ford looking and sounding like the kind of leader a province needs during a crisis, and his approval rating on the rise, it has not been easy for the Official Opposition to throw any hard punches.
But NDP leader Andrea Horwath found a slight opening and came out swinging, finally getting some air time.
Ford’s folly? He drove to his cottage on Easter Sunday to check on the plumbing. Spent two hours onsite before returning to the Big Smoke. It was his first break in eight weeks. No question he should have arranged for a cottage country local to check on the property after asking other cottage owners to resist the urge to flee the city to God’s country (aka Muskoka).
However, listening to the Howarth rant, one would think that he broke all 10 Commandments.
HITS AND MISSES Nobody wanted a pandemic but the current crisis did pause annoying telemarketer calls. (Ops. Hold the phone. Just got a call from somebody wanting to know if I needed financial assistance?) … Went to the bank the other day. Waited in the parking lot 45 minutes. With fewer people using hospital ERs, it now takes more time to see a bank teller than a doctor.
CAN’T MAKE THIS UP FILE – Disgraced/ex-convict TV evangelist Jim Bakker, back on the tube after undergoing spiritual rehab, claims God told him on New Year’s Eve that in a few days the U.S. would be smitten by a deadly virus for its sinful ways. Apparently he forgot to pass along the message to his pal Donald Trump. Just a thought: why didn’t God go right to the top?
TRIVIA ANSWER Hollywood star Ryan Gosling was born in London, Ont. but moved to Cornwall with his parents when he was around two years old. He calls Cornwall his hometown.
TRIVIA This Cornwall mayor christened the Super Seven fine paper machine installed at the Domtar Cornwall mill. 1) Nick Kaneb, 2) Elzear Emard, 3) L. G. “Archie” Lavigne, 4) Ed Lumley, 5) Emile Menard.
QUOTED “Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.” – Babe Ruth

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Jenni MacDonald, Dominion Lending, Cornwall, Ontario