Claude Gar­land’s mem­ory lives on

A decade after the for­mer mayor’s death, fundraiser in his name still go­ing strong

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BYMELISSA JENK­INS

Car­bon­ear-Har­bour Grace MHA Sam Slades’ leather chair squeaks as he leans back, smil­ing.

It has been almost a decade since his close friend and for­mer Car­bon­ear town coun­cil col­league, Claude Gar­land, died, and he was spend­ing a few mo­ments recol­lect­ing some of his favourite mem­o­ries.

“I re­mem­ber him the same as if it were yes­ter­day,” Slade said of a man he con­sid­ered his men­tor.

For a sec­ond his smile widens, and he laughs, re­mem­ber­ing the good times.

“It wasn’t all coun­cil,” he said. “There was friend­ship there, too.”

On Oct. 19, 2004, Gar­land went moose hunt­ing. At 2:30 p.m. he called Slade and told him where he would be.

When Slade got a call from the town of­fice telling him Gar­land hadn’t made it out of the woods, he was shocked. Gar­land had had a heart at­tack at the age of 56.

Over the next few years, the Claude Gar­land Mayor’s Walk for the Heart and Stroke Foun­da­tion was cre­ated. Gar­land was still in of­fice at the time of his death.

Each year the event grows, and this year marks the 10th an­niver­sary of Gar­land’s death.

The walk

Slade, and Gar­land’s fam­ily — daugh­ters Au­gusta, Joanne and San­dra, son Claude and wife Cairine — and res­i­dents of the area con­tinue to take part in the walk.

The Mayor’s March, an an­nual event or­ga­nized by the Heart and Stroke Foun­da­tion, was adopted by Car­bon­ear with some changes. In­stead of it be­ing a walk for the mayor, coun­cil­lors and town staff, it has grown into a com­mu­nity event with more than 100 at­ten­dees each year, and the num­ber is grow­ing. The event raised $6,400 last year. Slade, who be­came mayor in 2005, was one of the driv­ing forces be­hind the event. Gar­land’s fam­ily was also part of it since its in­cep­tion.

“To see cit­i­zens of the Town of Car­bon­ear come out each year to par­tic­i­pate in a memo­rial walk in his hon­our re­ally makes my fam­ily very proud,” son Claude said. “It goes to show how much re­spect the peo­ple in this town re­ally did have for him.”

Slade is happy to see the event con­tinue.

“Claude was a per­son who had a big ol’ heart,” he said. “The walk is a great way to keep his mem­ory alive.”

In 2011, Statis­tics Canada re­ported 941 deaths in New­found­land and Labrador from heart dis­ease, and 266 deaths from stroke, mak­ing those the sec­ond and third lead­ing causes of death, re­spec­tively.

Heart and Stroke Foun­da­tion spokes­woman Sharon Hollingsworth said nine in 10 res­i­dents have at least one risk fac­tor for heart dis­ease or stroke.

“By the year 2020 (we hope) to fur­ther re­duce Cana­di­ans’ rates of death from th­ese dis­eases by 25 per cent and risk fac­tors by 10 per cent,” she said.

Those risk fac­tors and death rates are some of the rea­sons the Gar­land fam­ily is so de­ter­mined to keep the walk go­ing.

Fam­ily mem­o­ries

Claude Gar­land ju­nior is a vol­un­teer fire­fighter like his dad was for many years. They also shared a love for the out­doors and hunt­ing.

“Dad was a big hunter and so was I — then and to­day,” Claude told The Com­pass. “I only had a few years of hunt­ing with him, but I’ll cher­ish those days that I did have with him for­ever.”

Gar­land’s daugh­ter, Au­gusta Har­ris, is pleased to see the event con­tinue on for her fa­ther.

“Ten years ago, I lost the most giv­ing, car­ing and gen­er­ous man I know — my fa­ther,” Har­ris said. “In his short life, he gave so much to ev­ery­thing he touched.”

The sib­lings have mem­o­ries that will live with them for a long time.

“When I was a kid I’d al­ways wait for him to come home from moose hunt­ing just to see if him and his bud­dies had got­ten a moose,” Claude re­called. “Then I would go down­stairs and watch him clean his guns and put them away.

“He used WD40 to clean his guns, and to this day when I smell WD40, it brings me back to those years of my child­hood.”

Har­ris said there were times she would miss the bus to school, and her fa­ther would give her a lift.

“Those drives were mo­ments when we had no dis­trac­tions and lots of time just to chat,” she said. “There was lots of time, be­cause along the way … he was snow­clear­ing peo­ple’s drive­ways out dur­ing the win­ter. He was al­ways help­ing peo­ple.”

Giv­ing in mem­ory

This year’s walk will take place on the evening of Thurs­day, Oct. 16, at the Con­cep­tion Bay Re­gional Com­mu­nity Cen­tre in Car­bon­ear,

“Hope­fully in another 10 years, we’ll still be do­ing the walk and talk­ing about Claude,” Slade said.

Many called him a giv­ing man, some­one who would give the shirt off his back if some­one needed it.

“He wouldn’t see any­one stuck. He had a heart of gold,” Slade agreed.

“He did ev­ery­thing he could pos­si­bly do to please the peo­ple of Car­bon­ear,” Gar­land’s son, Claude said.

Those in­ter­ested in tak­ing part can call the Car­bon­ear coun­cil of­fice at 596-3831.

For those who would like to make a do­na­tion, visit Au­gusta Har­ris’s web­page — http://bit.ly/1rkR9mu — or con­tact her brother Claude Gar­land at 589-5175, Cairine Gar­land at 596-6547, any mem­ber of the Car­bon­ear Vol­un­teer Fire Depart­ment, or call Sam Slade’s of­fice at 596-8194. Do­na­tions will also be ac­cepted at the event.

“I think the cit­i­zens of Car­bon­ear and sur­round­ing ar­eas should all give them­selves a pat on the back for mak­ing the mayor’s walk one of the big­gest fundrais­ers for heart dis­ease and stroke in the prov­ince,” Claude said.

Sub­mit­ted photo

The late mayor Claude Gar­land of Car­bon­ear is still re­mem­bered for his giv­ing per­son­al­ity a decade later.

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