Everything you wanted in a supervisor
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.