Un­sung hero

Man­i­toba man cred­its Burin Penin­sula res­i­dent for sav­ing his life when they were boys

The Southern Gazette - - Front Page - BY PAUL HERRIDGE MARYSTOWN, N.L.

Al­lis­ter Har­vey says he and Michael Finn had quite a few ad­ven­tures as young boys grow­ing up in Grand Falls in the 1960s.

There’s one, how­ever, he feels peo­ple should know about – the day he says Finn saved his life.

Har­vey lived in New­found­land dur­ing his youth while his fa­ther, a doc­tor, prac­ticed here. While he was still young, his fam­ily moved to Win­nipeg, Man­i­toba, where Har­vey still lives.

Finn pur­sued a teach­ing ca­reer, which brought him to For­tune Bay Acad­emy in St. Bernard’s-Jac­ques Fon­taine. Now re­tired, he has re­mained in the com­mu­nity.

Los­ing track of one an­other after Har­vey left, when they were boys they were good bud­dies who lived close to one an­other and would go out ex­plor­ing to­gether in the cen­tral New­found­land town.

Ac­cord­ing to Har­vey, one day they came across a con­struc­tion pit that wasn’t pre­vi­ously there be­fore.

“It was new to us, so we were lured over to it, and it was com­pletely full of wa­ter, and we started throw­ing rocks, which we al­ways did,” Har­vey re­cently told The South­ern Gazette in a phone in­ter­view.

The pair then de­cided to hop aboard what Har­vey de­scribed as an old wooden pal­let with some poles and use it as a raft.

“I kind of went one way with the pole and the raft and Michael went the other way, and I went in.” Har­vey said.

Har­vey, 61, says he started to drown.

“I can still see the bub­bles float­ing past my face when I was drown­ing, and I was at a point where I had given up,” Har­vey said, re­call­ing he was wear­ing a brand-new pair of black rub­ber boots.

The boots were suck­ing him down un­til one of them came off.

“Michael kind of just reached in, grabbed me and pulled me out, just yanked me right out,” Har­vey said. “I don’t know how Michael man­aged to save me, but he did.”

Har­vey said he re­calls lit­tle about what hap­pened af­ter­wards.

“The next thing I re­mem­ber was be­ing at home in my bath­tub … and I was still wor­ried about the boot miss­ing,” he says.

Finn told The South­ern Gazette he re­mem­bers Har­vey quite clearly, and with a re­minder about what hap­pened on the day in ques­tion, re­called it, as well. He de­scribed the pit as a hole that had been ex­ca­vated for a house. The foun­da­tion hadn’t yet been poured. It was in the Suther­land Drive area, he said.

“It was pretty dan­ger­ous look­ing back on it. You’d prob­a­bly never get away with it now. Some­one would prob­a­bly call so­cial ser­vices, but we had a lot of free­dom back then,” Finn said.


Michael Finn


Al­lis­ter Har­vey

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