It is a sobering statistic: Each year 40,000 Canadians are victims of sudden cardiac arrest. Only 10% survive, too often because a simple, easy-to-use, life-saving piece of equipment was not within reach.
The Heart and Stroke people say that in cardiac arrest, every second counts with most happening at home or in a public setting.
Cornwall school teacher Nancy Kelly knows this all too well.
Last September, her husband, Gilles Gagnier, the highly-respected chief operating officer of Canadian Geographical Society, suffered a fatal cardiac arrest at his Riverdale home. He was a fit-looking 51 year old.
Gilles was diagnosed with heart disease when he was 40. From that moment he was on a mission to educate people about the disease.
In his absence, Nancy, along with his sisters, Denise and Claire and Rick Pecore, picked up the ball.
They came up with the idea – along with a fundraising campaign – of a SaveStation at one of the city’s busiest playgrounds, Riverdale Park, where Gilles often played tennis.
Studies suggest that easy access to a life-saving station combined with CPR can increase the survival rate by 75%.
On Sept. 10, one year to the day Gilles suffered the fatal cardiac arrest, the Riverdale SaveStation which contains an automatic defibrillator will be unveiled along with a demonstration of how the device works.
Gilles would be proud.
HITS AND MISSES: After years of “threatening” to write the book, Brian “The Cat” Rouleau is working on it in collaboration with local retired teacher-turned-crime author Andy Petepiece. It is called “Stuck in Stupid”. First four chapters have been completed. It will cover growing up in Cornwall, serving in Vietnam with the United States Army, which he calls a dangerous occupation, and working as operations manager in some of the major U.S. night clubs. Rouleau said as a kid he was so poor his mother couldn’t afford to buy him a good pair of shoes. The soles were so thin, he said that when he stepped on a penny he could tell if it was heads or tails. … Talk about a nest egg, the gift that keeps on giving. Ontario communities with casinos are cashing in big time. Each receives a slice of the action from the local gambling outfit licensed by the Ontario government. For instance, since its casino opened in 2000, Brantford has raked in $92 million. Over in Woodstock, it has received a total of $24 million since 2001. And studies show that casinos are recession proof. In bad economic times, more people head to the casino.
LOOKIN BACK AT AUGUST 1959: Long-time city parks employee Joe “Skip” St. Denis was promoted to parks superintendent, serving as an assistant to newly-named parks and recreation administrator Bob Turner. St. Denis was the driving force behind the Our Citizens of Tomorrow (OCOT) youth program… Read and weep. There was a time when they had things called “Gas Wars”, when the 50 or so local gas stations – all full service – undercut pump prices to bring in business (aka stealing biz from competitors). And, in August 1959 Cornwall motorists were enjoying a price war that lasted most of the month. It started out at 37 cents a gallon (gallon, not the measly litre) and by mid-month some stations were pumping regular gas for 28.9 cents a gallon. … This was an era when city parks were full of kids. A report by the parks and recreation committee noted that 9,322 youngsters were enrolled in summer playground (nine parks) programs. … When his single engine plane ran out of gas en route to Ottawa from Montreal, the pilot turned a stretch of Highway 43 two miles east of Avonmore into a make-shift landing strip. Incredibly, the pilot, with a passenger, made a perfect landing with only two cars slightly damaged when clipped by the craft. The next morning, the plane was towed to a nearby gas station, re-fueled and with the OPP closing down a section of the highway, was up and off to Ottawa. … With costs higher than expected and still a year to go on its contract with the city, the garbage contractor, Labelle and Clement, asked city council for a slight increase. The contractor noted that the the number of homes served by the firm had increased 7.5% since the contract was signed two years earlier. Council voted 7-3 to give the contractor an extra $20 a day. Those opposed argued that contracts shouldn’t be amended. … F. W. Woolworth said it was re-placing its Pitt Street department store with a more modern, larger store on Second Street just west of Augustus Street (now Time Square). A touch of the old would be kept: the new store would include the iconic lunch counter with 48 stools. The Pitt Street store opened in 1918. It was Cornwall’s first department store. Later, Woolworth’s morphed into Woolco and the iconic lunch counter was replaced by the Red Grill. … Cornwall Public School Board signed up 14 new teachers for the upcoming school year. They included Darleen McGee, Eleanor Yates, Hazel Gardner, Rhonda Sheppard and Barbara Cottrell. Don Russell was named physical education supervisor. … Marcel Leduc, the youngest player in the tournament, pitched a no-hitter as Howard Smith Paper Mill edged Baker’s Service of Massena 2-1 in the St. Lawrence Valley Softball Tournament championship game at Alcoa Field in Massena. The Baker run was scored on an error. The 17-year-old Leduc struck out seven. … Dan McGregor won the Cornwall Golf and Country Club men’s championship, while Rosemary Phillips captured the women’s title.
TRIVIA: In March 1968, a government agency tested Cornwall’s elementary school children. The results were not good: 25% failed. What was the test: 1) History, 2) Mathematics, 3) Oral French, 4) Physical fitness, 5) Geography.
TRIVIA ANSWER: GFL which operates the large Eastern Ontario Waste Handling Facility in Moose Creek stands for Green for Life. It was founded in 2007 by Toronto businessman Patrick Dovigi. Today it operates throughout North America and has 8,500 employees.