• James Parry

Parrywinkle September 24, 2015


PHOTO COURTESY LISA PRITCHARD

A photo is worth a thousand words.

In a departure from the norm for this page, I’d like to share some sad news with you this week.

But one that, at the same time, reflects the true community spirit that makes our little town by the lake so special.

As everyone knows, a Scout’s motto is ‘Be Prepared’. And that of a Cub is ‘We’ll do our best.’ But how can one possibly be prepared for the dreadful news that one of your fellow scouts - and a beloved leader and mentor, at that - has just been diagnosed with ALS? To give it its proper name, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a progressive disease affecting the nerve cells of the brain and spinal cord for which there is no known cure.

Well, if you are a member of the Hudson-based Cavagnal Scouts Group – which recently helped the town battle its ragweed problem – you rally together, pledge to support him all you can, and set out to raise funds to help him and his family during what will certainly be difficult times ahead.

Beginning with an Ice Bucket Challenge to all other scout troops in the region. Which is exactly what happened last week at the group’s annual open house and registration at St. James’ Church Hall in what is just the first of a series of special fund–raising events planned over the coming weeks and months in support of Stéphane Hogue, his wife Karen, and their teenage son Kyle.

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ONLY THE BEGINNING – Says Michael Doran, Cavagnal Scouting Group Commissioner and fellow Hudsonite, “This family has played such an important role in supporting our scouting activities over the years and it is now our turn to support them in every way we can.”

Explains Lisa Pritchard, “When we were recently informed by our fellow scouting leader, Stéphane, that he had been diagnosed with ALS, we knew as a group we would like to do something to support him. We tossed around a few ideas and decided to start with the Ice Bucket Challenge. Our first opportunity to have as many leaders together as possible was registration night.”

Spelling out his name with a letter per bucket, SCOUTER STEPHANE, leaders and some youngsters took part in the wave with Lisa telling them they were there to honour Stéphane who has been a big part of their scouting community, while asking them to think about all the other people in our community that have been struck by ALS. So far the group has raised $675 and is aiming for much more. Will keep you posted as to how you too might contribute to this most worthwhile cause.

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PHOTO BY JAMES PARRY

Birthday gal, Maxine Bredt, and fellow Veterans Peter Stephenson and Vance Larson, stepped on stage at Hudson Village Theatre to be presented by Julia Mackey with a print of a very special painting to be displayed at the Hudson Legion Branch #115 for many years to come.

A SALUTE TO JAKE’S GIFT – And now, on another emotional note, Hudson Village Theatre’s last play of the summer season – Jake’s Gift – has left town for further shows in Ontario, Vancouver, and then Ottawa. Why emotional? Because, in recent days, so many people I’ve met and spoken to who also saw it, told me they will long remember this tour-de-force by playwright and performer, Julia Mackey, directed by her hubby, Dirk Van Stralen, and marking its 800th performance right here at our little theatre down by the railway tracks.

And I couldn’t agree more. Perfection in every sense of the word. And well-merited sustained standing ovations after every show. Including Saturday night’s when, after enjoying a great steak BBQ at the home of Frank Royle together with 30 ticket holders eager to see Jake’s Gift, Julia and Dirk headed out in bucketing-down rain to make it all happen again.

And then who, after the show and to the total surprise of Hudson Legion Branch #115 stalwart and former World War II nurse, Maxine Bredt - turning 96 years young that very day and who was invited up on stage to accept it – presented a print of a beautiful painting that will now be framed and shown with pride at the Legion on Beach Street for generations to come.

It is titled Fallen Hero and it was commissioned by Mark Norman, founder and director of the Canadian Fallen Heroes Foundation (CFHF), who invited Steve Robertson, an artist from Sooke, B.C., to paint it. It combines three elements. A D-Day veteran who was at the 60th Anniversary of the D-Day ceremony in Ottawa. A young girl who was at the funeral of her father, an RCMP officer killed in the line of duty. And a Canadian cemetery in Holland.

Explained Julia, “Mark asked us to donate the print to the Legion of the community we perform in. We’ve been doing that for him since 2011 and we are so happy to do so. The CFCH creates memorial plaques for every Canadian soldier killed in the line of duty from the Boer War to Afghanistan. There are 118,000 plaques to create and Mark has completed 2,300. The Fallen Hero print, which sells for $100, is one of the ways they raise money to do the plaques.”

Added Dirk, “Along with the donation of the print for the CFHF, we’ve been selling the Jake’s Gift Button packages since 2010. We always give 100 per cent of the profit of the sales to the Legion for their Poppy Trust Fund or they can use the money for the most pressing issue at the Branch. We do this to give back to the communities and to support the Legions and to date we have raised over $31,000 for the cause across Canada.”

Way to go guys! And I know a lot of people who caught your superb show here in Hudson are already planning on seeing you again in Ottawa. My beautiful Sunshine and I included! Their web site, by the way, is www.jakesgift.com. Check it out. It’s a winner!

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PHOTO BY STEPHANIE AVAKIAN

Odyssey stylists extraordinaire, Zeina Abdul Karim (left) and Joanne Thomas, together with their team, worked 15 hours in one straight session to help make all 23 swimsuit contestants look like a winner.

A REAL ODYSSEY – And speaking of winners, the talented hair styling team at Odyssey Medispa & Salon on Harwood sure helped all 23 contestants in the recent Swimsuit USA International Model Search Canada Contest staged in St. Lazare look their best for this prestigious event judged by nine local personalities, including salon owner, Walter Veas.

As the official hairstylists, the salon’s entire staff was there comprising Carmen Velarde, Lindsay Gilbert, Mayela Garza Padilla, as well as Zeina Abdulkarim leading her team of stylists, Joanne Thomas, and Enrico Eta, with the help of Denny Berdiales. And boy, did they work. From 9 in the morning through until midnight!

Laughs Zeina, “This was the first time in my 30–year career that I worked for over 15 hours straight. But it was a great experience and we made a lot of new friends in the process, and we would like to thank organizer and host, Lynn Gauvreau, for believing in Salon Odyssey.”

Truly a hair-raising experience, I would imagine!

And that’s a wrap!

E-mail: creation@videotron.ca

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