Claude Garland’s memory lives on
A decade after the former mayor’s death, fundraiser in his name still going strong
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.
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.
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.
The late mayor Claude Garland of Carbonear is still remembered for his giving personality a decade later.