A man of ser­vice

Le Messager Verdun - - COMMUNITY - DA­VID COX @tc.tc

HONOR. A li­fe­time of com­mu­ni­ty ser­vice was ho­no­red last week when grand­fa­ther, hus­band, vo­lun­teer and role mo­del Jo­seph Quinn step­ped up on stage to ac­cept a Na­tio­nal As­sem­bly me­dal. Wit­nes­sed by fa­mi­ly, col­leagues and fel­low re­si­dents, he ac­cep­ted his award with mo­des­ty and grace, and pas­sed on his fa­ther’s wis­dom.

There are some words that echo th­rough time and stay with us for our en­tire lives. When Jo­seph Quinn closes his eyes, he can see his fa­ther plain as day spea­king to the boy he used to be.

«Re­mem­ber to al­ways give back to where you come from».

The 75 year-young re­ti­red fi­re­man has used his fa­ther’s words as a per­so­nal man­tra in eve­ry­thing he has ever done.

Ear­ly in his ca­reer as a Ver­dun fire-figh­ter, he be­came a char­ter mem­ber of the Daw­son Boys & Girls Club (now Daw­son Com­mu­ni­ty Centre) when it ope­ned in 1959 and has been as­so­cia­ted with it ever since. The urge to help others grew and over the years he has vo­lun­tee­red as a fun­drai­ser for Mus­cu­lar Dy­stro­phy and Epi­lep­sy Ca­na­da and was the 1996-97 President of the Uni­ted Irish So­cie­ties of Mon­treal who or­ga­nize the St. Pa­trick’s Day Pa­rade.

«I star­ted vo­lun­tee­ring at Man­na Ver­dun Food Bank when I re­ti­red,» he ex­plains,» I com­men­ced by of­fe­ring one hour a week and wi­thin a short per­iod of time I was vo­lun­tee­ring full time, and I still do to­day.»


Though the eve­ning high­light of Au­gust 30 was to be the jazz concert in Saint-tho­mas­more church, the true star of the eve­ning was Ver­dun re­sident Quinn.

With ma­ny lo­cal coun­ci­lors and re­si­dents in at­ten­dance, MNA Isa­belle Me­lan­çon spoke about the ex­ten­sive ac­com­plish­ments he has achie­ved in Ver­dun be­fore awar­ding the me­dal.

She no­ted the bea­ming faces of his fa­mi­ly mem­bers and spoke of his ins­pi­ring drive. From fi­re­figh­ter to a mo­del vo­lun­teer, his exem­pla­ry pu­blic ser­vice re­cord conti­nues to grow.

Upon ac­cep­tance of the me­dal in ty­pi­cal fa­shion for those who know him, hum­bled Quinn took the time to call his fel­low vo­lun­teers to stand and share the spot­light.


For 32 years he ser­ved in the Ver­dun fire de­part­ment and when he fi­nal­ly re­ti­red, he did so as Fire Chief. He is of­ten found in schools, where he tries to pass on his pas­sion for vo­lun­tee­ring to the young people he speaks with.

«A lot of schools have pro­grams for com­mu­ni­ty ser­vice, but there are not ma­ny who ap­ply to them,» he says. «There is va­lue to ser­vice that to­day’s chil­dren don’t seem to un­ders­tand. Even small things like rea­ding to a se­nior, hel­ping at a food bank. I try and tell them to do what they can to ap­pease their fel­low ci­ti­zens.»

He wor­ries so­me­times as he sees more grey hai­red vo­lun­teers than young ones, and hopes that his sto­ry will ins­pire a new ge­ne­ra­tion of vo­lun­teers.

A role mo­del for vo­lun­teers, Jo­seph Quinn re­ceives some well-ear­ned re­cog­ni­tion

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