• Nick Zacharias

Volunteer spirit celebrated in Hudson

PHOTO BY NICK ZACHARIAS

Interim Recreation, Tourism, Culture and Communications Director Laura McCaffrey, right, addresses a full house at Hudson’s volunteer recognition event last Friday, November 8.

A large crowd of people came together in Hudson last Friday, filling the hall at the Stephen F. Shaar Community Centre, to celebrate the spirit of volunteerism that is alive and well in the town.

“It’s been a few years since the town celebrated the volunteers in the community, so it’s due!” said Laura McCaffrey, Hudson’s interim director of recreation, tourism, culture and communications.

The event was an open invitation to any and all who have volunteered, with food and drink as a show of appreciation. That included those who have helped the community by fundraising for charity, caring for others, participating in food drives or community events, cleaning up public spaces, you name it. In the past few years in particular, with two major flood events bringing out droves of willing helpers for those in need, there were many people to celebrate.

In relation to those who gave their time to help flood victims, part of the evening’s agenda was the official unveiling of local artist Tina Struthers’s commemorative work of art titled ‘Lignes d’eau.’ The work was inspired by the flood of 2017, where Struthers volunteered herself. Said the diminutive artist, “I was there at that flood, I came to help to try to fill sandbags, but to be honest at the time I felt like my contribution was a bit useless.” That was in comparison to the many people who came to do the heavier lifting and to put sandbags in place, and the emergency workers who tirelessly contributed. “I wanted to do something more to commemorate and to honour those who made a real difference.”

The work itself, made from a range of materials including string and wooden discs, was inspired by the physical action of the flood itself, and by people’s responses to it.

“When I looked at the shoreline as the water receded, I was struck by the wavy lines of debris left behind, almost like scars on the landscape, and that’s where the idea of the wavy lines began. And inside the work, there are messages written by people who were affected by the flood. It was an incredibly difficult experience for so many people, and so they had the chance to write down their feelings.”

PHOTO BY NICK ZACHARIAS

Hudson mayor Jamie Nicholls poses with artist Vaudreuil-Dorion Tina Struthers in front of her mixed textile work titled ‘Lignes d’eau,’ which she created in honour of the many victims and the volunteers who worked to help them during the 2017 flood.

The messages are wrapped in small bundles and tied with string and incorporated into the work never to be opened – it was conceived as a cathartic way for people to let out some of their feelings, be they fear or frustration or gratitude or relief, and have them be part of the commemorative work forever.

Like volunteers helping the community, this work was also accomplished by the hands of many. Emergency workers, local politicians and many other volunteers took turns at tying the little message bundles.

Said Hudson mayor Jamie Nicholls at the unveiling, “I remember being there tying these tiny packages with little coloured strings, and I turned to [councillor] Daren Legault who was there with me, and I sort of laughed and said, ‘Man, what are we doing?’ It seemed like such a small inconsequential thing. But then you see the work come together as a whole, like the community comes together as a whole, and you realize it’s those tiny contributions brought together that make for something greater.”

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