Every­thing you wanted in a su­per­vi­sor

The Southern Gazette - - FRONT PAGE -

Wil­fred Miller was one friend who fre­quently met up with vi­sorDon­nie and his dog on their daily jaunts around the trail. He said it was im­pos­si­ble not to ad­mire the man for his out­look on life.

“He never com­plained. I never once hear him say, ‘Why me?’ That’s what I ad­mired most about him,” Miller said. “It was al­ways about ev­ery­body else. It was never about him.”

Miller said he’s sure De­veau walked the trail many days when most or­di­nary peo­ple wouldn’t have got­ten out of bed.

Don­nie’s wife Sharon said her hus­band would have been over­whelmed by the kind­ness, the gen­eros­ity and the fellowship shown at the cer­e­mony.

“Don­nie was big on fellowship and community,” she said. “He would have loved this. I’m sure he’s smil­ing to­day.”

Sharon said they moved to Grand Bank in 2005 when Don­nie as­sumed the po­si­tion as the cor­po­ral-in-charge for Grand Bank.

She said he en­joyed his work here and re­turned to the job af­ter his first op­er­a­tion for cancer.

“Un­for­tu­nately cancer later spread into his lungs and he didn’t go back to work af­ter that. He ac­quired 31 years ser­vice with the RCMP. The com­mand­ing of­fi­cer from St. John’s came to our home to present him with his long-time ser­vice pin. We were re­ally touched.”

She said she was equally im­pressed with the large crowd that came out to pay their re­spects to her hus­band.

“This shows that in this crazy world, we can still fo­cus and find kind­ness, com­pas­sion and peo­ple who care,” Sharon said. “This is truly, truly a won­der­ful town. No won­der Don­nie and I de­cided to stay here and re­tire.

“This is a tes­ti­mony to how beau­ti­ful this place is – not just vis­ually, but spir­i­tu­ally as well.”

Sharon thanked Der­rick Dunne, Robin Smith and Ge­orge J.B. Rose for plan­ning the site and Cody Har­vey and his grand­fa­ther Bert Cooper for their ren­di­tion of Amaz­ing Grace.

Friends of Don­nie

Der­rick Dunne, Robin Smith and Ge­orge J.B. Rose re­fer to them­selves as the Friends of Don­nie.

Dunne de­scribed how the idea for the me­mo­rial site came about.

“We got to­gether and af­ter some dis­cus­sion de­cided we would place a bench on the trail in Don­nie’s mem­ory. Ge­orge A crowd as­sem­bled on the Grand Bank na­ture trail for a cer­e­mony hon­our­ing Ret. Cpl. Don­nie De­veau Aug. 15. De­veau died of cancer on Feb. 11. Seated on the bench are Don­nie’s wife Sharon De­veau (left) and his sis­ter Lynda McEwen. Nearby is the fam­ily pet Daisy. agreed to make a bench out of a ju­niper tree that he had,” he said.

“We later cut brush on the site, lev­eled the ground, put up a sign and made a flower gar­den. It all came to­gether as a me­mo­rial site – not just a bench.”

Dunne thanked the Town of Grand Bank, Aly­wards Home Hard­ware and lo­cal cit­i­zens for their help in mak­ing the site pos­si­ble.

Cpl. Tim Wil­liams, who came to take over from De­veau, said Don­nie was a great men­tor and he paved the way in the community for po­lice community re­la­tions.

“This trib­ute, this mon­u­ment is a fit­ting me­mo­rial to Don­nie De­veau. He had a ca­reer in peace­keep­ing. This is such a peace­ful place where we can come and en­joy and re­flect,” he said.

Ret. Staff Sgt. Grant Smith, former dis­trict com­man­der for the Burin Penin­sula RCMP, also had high praise for De­veau.

“Don­nie was every­thing you wanted in a su­per­vi­sor,” Smith said. “He ran a tight ship. He was close to the community. He took care of all the prob­lems and made my job a whole lot eas­ier.”

Smith also com­mented on De­veau’s courage.

“Don­nie lost the fight af­ter the third bout with cancer. Many a man would have given up af­ter the first fight, but that was not in Don­nie’s DNA.”

Mayor Rex Matthews rep­re­sented the town at the cer­e­mony; Cpl. Tim Wil­liams rep­re­sented the RCMP and Eric Ge­orge spoke on be­half of MHA Carol Anne Ha­ley.

CARL ROSE PHOTO

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