Ten years marching strong
Claude Garland memorial walk takes place Oct. 19 in Carbonear
It has been 10 years since Carbonear hosted its first mayor’s walk in memory of the late Claude Garland.
Garland was mayor of the town when he died while out moose hunting after suffering a heart attack on Oct. 19, 2004.
In October of 2006, the first Mayor’s March in his memory was held. To date, the event in Carbonear has raised over $60,000.
The Mayor’s March is an event sponsored by the Heart and Stroke Foundation Newfoundland and Labrador chapter. Although it is an event that takes place all over the island, this was the first of the events that honoured a mayor who died while still in office.
“It was the first of its kind,” said Carbonear-Harbour Grace MHA Sam Slade, who helped organize the first eight walks.
Slade became the mayor in the following election after Garland’s death. They were close friends, so the event means a lot to Slade.
“It’s the tenth anniversary, and I certainly would like to see people support it like they have in the past,” he said.
Still going strong
Although there are no formal celebrations planned for the milestone event, the Garland family was happy that it is still going strong after a decade.
“Me and my family could not be more honoured,” said Garland’s son, also named Claude. “It truly goes to show the respect that people had for him.”
His son will be working away this year, but other family members are expected to attend.
“Our entire family is very proud of how successful this event has been and the tremendous amount of support received from the community,” said daughter Sandra Garland. “I know that my father would have been very pleased with the total amount of money raised for the Heart and Stroke Foundation.”
Garland was a volunteer firefighter, and the town’s department attends the walk each year. The local girl guides attend as well, raising money for the cause. In fact, many of those who participate have been coming since the beginning, said Slade.
“It’s important that his legacy lives on and it’s for a good cause,” Slade noted. “Tomorrow it could be my turn, or someone else’s turn.”
The Heart and Stroke Foundation uses the funds raised for research and for health education and promotion programs.
For years, the Claude Garland Memorial Walk received certificates from the foundation because the participants raised the most money in the province. This is something Slade is very proud of.
“Every year we went (to the awards banquet), we received that certificate,” Slade said. “But we never did it for recognition. We did it for Claude.”
Daughter Sandra has many fond memories of her dad, but one stands out in her mind.
“One thing I’ll always remem- ber about my father was the small notebook that he carried around in his shirt pocket,” she said. “Whenever someone called him with an issue he always pulled out his notebook, which was held together with an elastic band — a far cry from technology today — and wrote down their concern.”
Every time Garland would complete a task, he scratched it off the list in his book.
“This notebook was his lifeline to the people,” Sandra explained. “And (it) really signified to me how dedicated he was to our town.”
Slade remembers Claude as a great mayor, noting how he was always there for the people. No job was too big or too small for him, Slade said.
Many stories of Garland are shared each year at the event, including when he’d go above and beyond. Slade said that was the kind of person Garland was. He was there to help when needed, whether if it was just to listen to concerns or if he had to take his own truck with a plow on it to help someone stuck in their driveway in the winter.
Continuing the walk
There has been a slight
de- crease in the number of participants over the years, but Slade hopes that will change.
“I’d like to see it continue on, like it has for 10 years.”
The walk will take place Monday, Oct. 19 at 7 p.m. at the Conception Bay Regional Community Centre. A walk around the George W. Earle Promenade (boardwalk) will be followed by refreshments served inside the community centre.
Anyone wanting to take part in the event can get a pledge form at the Town of Carbonear council office or call 596-3831.
Claude Garland died on Oct. 19, 2004 from a heart attack while he was still serving as the mayor of Carbonear.