CORNWALL, Ont. – Claudia Ordonselli made quite an impression on the City of Cornwall.
Over 200 people rallied at a spaghetti supper fundraiser at the Army, Navy, Air Force Club on Marlborough Street Friday (March 18) in memory of the Cornwall mom and wife who tragically died in a traffic accident last month.
The event, organized by Mike Lapensee and a team of volunteers, raised over $2,000 for the victim’s family.
“The community support is overwhelming, actually, really overwhelming,” said Peter Brodka, Ordonselli’s husband. “This man (Lapensee) is a local hero. He stepped up and did something that is incredible.”
Lapensee previously employed Ordonselli, 61, and he was also her landlord at one time.
“If God was looking for an angel, he found her,” said Lapensee. “She would come into the house and say, ‘Hi! How are the boys?’ It was everybody else she cared about. She never talked about herself. The lady was a workhorse and always had a permanent smile. It was too early. It wasn’t her time.”
Two vehicles collided on Friday (February 26) and rocketed to the sidewalk on Brookdale Avenue and Ordonselli, became pinned under one of them while walking to get groceries.
She was rushed to hospital by ambulance where she died of her injuries.
“When this tragedy happened I wasn’t aware that it was a friend of mine. I found out from her husband afterwards. So I felt compelled to help alleviate some pain and the financial burden as well as show respect and love for the family,” said Lapensee. “They are hard-working people, who serve the community. It’s time to give back.”
He noted that 70 local businesses donated items as door prizes.
“I never knew so many people cared about us and my mom – it’s surreal, really,” said Kristen Brodka, 18, Ordonselli’s daughter.
Organizers gave a special shout-out to the ANAF club for supplying the venue and Cornwall rock outfit Trench Town Oddities for providing the live entertainment.
“When people are down and need some help, we need to bond together as a community,” said T.T.O. frontman Sean Harley.
In addition to being a beloved wife and mother, Ordonselli was a well-known server at the Tim Hortons on Brookdale Avenue.
Brodka said he first came to Cornwall in search of a job in broadcasting after graduating from Dawson College in downtown Montreal. What followed was a career-changing opportunity with CJSS Radio.
“This town in an incredible place to live,” he said. “In a time of need these people step up to the plate — my incredible friends that I have here in Cornwall. I knew back then as I started progressing in my career that one day I’d be back. And so it happened, some 40 years later, I brought back a wife and a daughter. It was our interntion to remain here the rest of our lives and grow old together. Well, that has since changed. What hasn’t changed is the community’s spirit. I’m fortunate that I have their strength and support.”