EMAIL mj.morris@live.ca


Thursday, November 16, 2017

Graham Bertrand retires as Chapleau Fire Chief after more than 40 years of service

Graham Bertrand has retired as Chief of the Chapleau Volunteer Fire Department after serving in various capacities since he joined it on February 15, 1975.

He advised that his retirement was to take effect on November 12, so he would participate in the Remembrance Day ceremony on November 11 on parade with fire department members.

He was appointed as a Captain in 1997, then Deputy Chief in 2002, and Chief in 2005.

But, over the past 40 plus years, Graham has not only been contributing as a first responder to make Chapleau a safer place, but a better place for everyone to live, work and play.

My files show that Graham was a member  of the 1973 Chapleau Recreation and Festival Chapleau committees, and by 1978 he was the chair of A Taste of the North, the community's winter carnival. He later served as chair of the Chapleau Recreation Committee.

 As an aside, in 1978, another great Chapleau volunteer was honoured with Jimmy Dillon being named King of the Carnival.

Graham was also trainer in the 1970s of the Chapleau Intermediate 'A' Huskies of the Northland Intermediate Hockey League --- and actively participated in a "donkey baseball" game sponsored by the team.

In 2010, he was fire chief when the fire department celebrated its official 100th anniversary.

In 2005, Graham was honoured by the township for his 30 years of service and presented with a certificate of thanks and congratulations by Mayor Earle Freeborn.

 Jim Prince, the founder of the  Chapleau Express summed up the contribution of Graham and all firefighters in an article noting that they should be recognized for their work and dedication "on the front lines".

Jim's article  added that volunteering as a firefighter is rewarding and life changing experience for those who serve. They are called upon to perform extremely hard and physical work under adverse conditions.

However, Graham's significant contribution to Chapleau has not begun and ended with his service to the volunteer fire department for more than 40 years.

In 2001, when Chapleau celebrated its 100th anniversary of its incorporation as a municipality, with his late wife Rose (Connelly), he co-chaired the celebration.

 It was a huge success. I know!  It was my first trip back home after moving to British Columbia to teach at College of the Rockies. I stayed with Dr. G.E. "Ted" Young, and had a wonderful time.

Graham also headed the committee for the 90th anniversary reunion of Chapleau High School in 2012, and has advised me that now he has retired as fire chief will "need something to do" so is willing to become involved in a 100th anniversary celebration of the school in 2022.

Graham has also contributed to the life and times of Chapleau as a member of other organizations for many years. I believe that the greatest resource any community has is its people, and Graham C. Bertrand is a shining example of a person who has volunteered his time and talents to the betterment of Chapleau. Congratulations Graham, and I look forward to the 100th anniversary of Chapleau High School.    "Keep smiling Graham!" My email is mj.morris@live.ca

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Unveiling of Memorial Walls highlighted Chapleau Remembrance Day service in 1978

The unveiling of Memorial Walls at the Remembrance Day service on November 11, 1978, completed the move of the cenotaph to its new location beside the Royal Canadian Legion Hall.

On June 25, 1978, a rededication ceremony had been held following the relocation of the cenotaph from between the old Town Hall and St. John's Anglican Church on Pine Street. Jack Boucher was the general contractor for the project.

The unveiling ceremony was conducted by Henry Therriault, World War II veteran, and president of Branch 5 (Ontario) of the Royal Canadian Legion. The prayer of dedication was given by Rev. William Ivey, rector of St. John's Anglican Church following the unveilings.

The unveiling of the World War I wall was done by Frank Cranston, Chapleau's last surviving veteran of World War I, and air cadet Bonnie Goheen.

In June at the official opening of the Chapleau Civic Centre, Mr. Cranston, who had also served in World War II, met and chatted with Ontario Lt. Gov. Pauline McGibbon who officially opened the civic centre.

Later the upstairs hall at the Legion was named after Mr. Cranston.

The unveiling of the World War II wall was done by Muriel  (Hunt) Morris, (my mother) and Eric Groulx.

Bernie Morris played the Last Post and Reveille, and the Act of Remembrance was read by Mr. Therriault.

The Chapleau Sentinel reported that a "unique addition" to the service was the singing of an anthem, "I Wonder Why". It was sung by Mary Beacock,  Beth Dunne, Gwen Travis and Charlie Law, accompanied by Russell Dunne on the guitar.

In our book 'The Chapleau Boys Go To War' Michael McMullen and I identified 32 Chapleau boys who died in World War I or died soon thereafter , due to their war related wounds/ health conditions.

They were: Harry Barber, William Bertrand, Joseph Bolduc, Peter Chappise, John Collings, Willard Daniels, Ambrose Evans, Percy Hall, William Hartley, Walter Haskins, James Hewitt, Albert Jeffries, Harry Kitchen, John Kuskitchu, Jacob McWatch, Simon McWatch, John Moir, Peter Moran, Alex Mortson, Loftus Muske, Lorne Nicholson, Frank Pitts, Roderick Potts, Jacob Redbreast, Alfred Therriault, Edgar Turner, John Turner, William Turner, Harry Unwin, William Unwin, Walter Valentine and Hans Wrangham.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

. 'Loss needs no learning and sorrow needs no schoolmaster' Rev. Murray McBride at Chapleau Remembrance Day 1961

Impressive Remembrance Day services at the Town Hall and cenotaph following a parade of Branch Number 5 (Ontario) Royal Canadian Legion members was held in 1961, according to a Sudbury Star report.

The Star noted that the turnout of Legion members was "higher than for some years and made a fine showing as they marched in step to music from the town band."

The Town Band was a feature at pretty well all community activities from about 1888 on when it was formed. I have included a photo circa 1922 of the band in front of the first cenotaph built after end of World War I.

After the invocation was given by Rev. J.G. M. Doolan of St. John's Anglican Church, Rev. Murray McBride of Trinity United Church delivered an address entitled 'The New War' which in many respects we find ourselves today in 2017.

Mr. McBride noted that there is "little left to be said for those left behind" as a result of war "for loss needs no learning and sorrow needs no schoolmaster."

As I was researching this column and read the above statement by Mr. McBride, I recalled a comment my mother, Muriel E. (Hunt) Morris made about Remembrance Day. I don't think she ever missed a Remembrance Day service but commented, "Every day is Remembrance Day". As most readers know, her husband, my father, Flying Officer Jim Morris was killed on active service in the RCAF during World War II.

Mr. McBride presented the argument that war and peace can not be separated in our thinking. He proceeded to outline his thinking on 'The New War'.

He said that over a span of 4000 years, the first wars were nomadic tribal wars in nature characterized by invasion, looting, pillaging and slaughter for immediate gain. These were followed by wars for territorial gain as well where the conqueror took over land an settled there.

Then World War I and World War II were wars for intangibles "for principles of freedom and liberty" as well.

He suggested that the new war is vastly different. It is "a war with an  unseen enemy which can occur without advance warning by an aggressor sitting at home and exploding bombs in his own country and count on fallout to weaken those he wishes to conquer  or destroy."

Given our deeply troubled world today with acts of terrorism globally, it seems like Mr. McBride had a crystal ball back in 1961.

In conclusion he suggested that society had "turned away from God" thus causing alienation and causing fear and mistrust in society. "It is this that would seem to have made us so ready to use discoveries for destruction rather than building a better world".

Michael J Morris

Michael J Morris
MJ with Buckwheat (1989-2009) Photo by Leo Ouimet


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Following the American Dream from Chapleau. CLICK ON IMAGE