CORNWALL, Ontario – “Friends” and “Family” were the words which echoed in the Army, Navy, Air Force Club (A.N.A.F. Club) on Friday, Sept. 30th during the reunion of former Domtar employees as they reconnected and reminisced colleagues. The evening reunion also included a spaghetti dinner fundraiser in which the proceeds were donated to the United Way as well as a silent auction. Richard Filion, a foreman at Domtar was on stage providing musical entertainment.
With about 270 guests attending the event organizer Debbie Fraser declared the evening a success. She said, It is nice to be together and having a happy time. Good food, good company and drinks.
People arriving at the reunion were greeted by Brian Hollingsworth, a 28 year Domtar employee and Joe Foubert, President of the A.N.A.F. Club and former Domtar employee. Foubert started working at Domtar when he was 18 years old. During his 47 years there, he achieved the position of Machine Tender Number 2, and was considered one of the “Elite”. It was Foubert who suggested using the club for the reunion.
Hollingsworth when talking about the plant closure 10 years ago said, “I was angry. We all were.” Working at Domtar was a much desired job. Hollingsworth said family connections were important when looking to work there. He said. “Our dads worked there, they would hire the sons.” He also explained how the employees lost more than a job, they lost a regular connection to people they literally grew up with. In effect friends became family along with the family member who worked at the plant.
Don Smith a 17 year former Domtar employee, now working for the Historical Society of SD&G said, “Multiple generations (of my family) worked there. I thought I would break the mold, but I ended up there anyway.” He said his great grandfather, grand father, mother as well as various uncles and cousins all worked at Domtar.
Roy Nichol (April Wine) explained how he was a part-time drummer while he worked at Domtar for 17 years. He said he came to see old friends.
Hollingsworth later summed up the mood at the event when he said, “Why do you think all these guys are coming in here – Friendship!”