Week of October 31

Wonderful people on both sides got me through bridge calamity

Sir: On Oct. 21, I had an appointment in the U.S. and was returning via the Blue Water Bridge to Sarnia.

I live 45 minutes from Sarnia, and my Chevy van had acted up when I started to drive, so while in the U.S. I called my mechanic to book an appointment.

I was on the bridge and 50 feet from the crest on the U.S. side when the van lost power and stalled. I hit the brakes and emergency flashers, and put it in park in the car lane.

Cars and trucks slowed and were able to go around me. I called 411 and 911, and told the 911 operator to please notify the bridge authorities.

In a few minutes, six men painting the bridge came and said they’d push me into their construction zone and out of the traffic. How they did it, I don’t know, but they pushed a heavy, three-quarter ton pickup uphill to safety. I really worried about them injuring themselves.

Through 411, I managed to contact the Michigan Department of Transportation and they said they were sending someone up. I asked them to notify the Canadian side.

Suddenly, a small pickup appeared and ‘Abby,’ sent by the Michigan side, appeared with a portable jump starter. Then ‘Brent,’ a supervisor from the Canadian side showed up.

With the co-ordinated services of both countries they stopped traffic, two workers got the van jump-started, and got me safely back to Canada. The van lasted until it cleared the bridge, off the highway, and to a safe place before it died again. With help from ‘Herb’ at Mufflerman and the CAA and their flatbed truck I got back to Chatham.

Wonderful people helped me from both sides of the border. The co-operation between the agencies was also wonderful. I am so grateful for their help, and want to acknowledge what all these did for me.

As for the van, it’s in Chatham being fixed.

Anne Smith

Tupperville, Ont.


Town’s actions a real peace of work

Sir: On Saturday, Oct 12 parishioners from the local area Catholic Churches were invited to participate in the 102nd anniversary celebrating the “Miracle of the Sun” at Fatima.

This Annual Crusade prays for Canada and Peace and was held in Petrolia’s Victoria Park.

Just prior to the start at 12 noon we were ordered by the Town to take down our banner because: “several people complained that it was inappropriate to have a religious sign in front of our Cenotaph.”

I hope that our soldiers would not object to the many scarecrows presently on display in front of our Cenotaph.

What is best — prayers for peace or scarecrows?

Norm Sutherland 

Petrolia 


Election day an eye-opening experience for city polling clerk

Sir: I devoted my Thanksgiving weekend to Elections Canada, working at an advanced poll station. The four-day marathon exceeded the daily 13-hour limitations of my “senior” body and mind.

That said, in this era of mandatory retirement and age discrimination, my cognitive abilities were intact, even under the duress of massive guidelines that didn’t always flow smoothly.

Thanks to the “dream team” I worked with, by the second day, we’d established a semblance of efficiency and rapport that allowed for any glitches to be rectified without a harsh word among us.

My poll supervisor was on top of her game — competent and secure without being power-hungry and intimidating. There were no “it’s not my job” attitudes, no inflated egos among our five-member team. We assumed our roles with professional “hello/bonjour” camaraderie.

We received voters from every category and age bracket, the eldest being 103. We looked forward to more numbers from the Millennials, but it appears the voter trend was slow to change after the upswing among voters 18 to 34 in the 2015 election.

Our poll station was not fully accessible to the physically disabled due to the dated building facility; i.e., a narrow doorway at the ramp entrance did not allow for modern motorized wheelchairs and scooters. But no voter was turned away. We compromised and catered within the guidelines of privacy.

On a personal note, a reality check about the society we live in loomed large. As electors continued to stream in, just outside our polling station was a homeless woman, nestled under a tree with her drug-addiction supplies.

It was heart wrenching to have her relocate herself, and for what — to portray society in a “hide-it-and-it-will-go-away” light?

As invigorating as this experience was for me, it also shook my sense of security. Knowing I could sleep at night with a roof over my head, the raw reality of the hidden homeless in our community was a harsh wake-up call.

Joanne Dixon

Sarnia


Disappointed by return of Prime Minister ‘Gilligan’

Sir: I’m very disappointed to see that Gilligan is back as prime minister of Canada.

For the younger generation that doesn’t know who Gilligan is, look up Gilligan’s Island, a TV comedy from the 1960s.

In one episode, Gilligan stands on a balcony dressed like Fidel Castro and gives a speech in which he says something like: “I promise you dis, dat and de udder ting.”

Sounds just like Trudeau to me.

Sheridan Glenn

Inwood, Ont.


Medical professionals saved my husband’s life

Sir: Recently my 84-year-old husband suffered a severe stroke.

I wish to express my absolute gratitude and admiration for the medical staff at Bluewater Health.

The paramedics, doctors, nurses and support staff performed their duties in a most professional and efficient manner, and it saved my husband’s life. For this, my family and I will be forever grateful.

At this time, my husband is resting comfortably in the hospital as her recovers in rehabilitation.

It’s very comforting to know that here in Sarnia-Lambton we have such medical services, without having to travel to London.

Very often we hear criticism of our medical system. I realize not all health cases can be solved.

However, I firmly believe those in the medical profession are doing the best they can with the resources they have.

One again, a big thank you to Bluewater Health.

Elsie Seward

Sarnia


Girls in Training column brought back memories

Sir: I would like to thank columnist Phil Egan for the Sept. 26 Journal article about Canadian Girls in Training.

Good memories were once again relived when I read it. Our eldest granddaughter Bailey (now 24) belonged to a CGIT group at Central Baptist Church in Sarnia.

I remember the candlelight Christmas Eve services, and Reg Lumley wanting to take the girls on a trip to Haiti, which, unfortunately, did not happen.

Our eight-year-old granddaughter has slept in her sister’s CGIT T-shirt the last few times she’s stayed over with us.

In these turbulent times we go through I applaud and hold in high esteem any one group or person who has the best interests of youth in the goodness of their hearts.

Thank you, Phil, for recalling happy times.

Mary Ettinger

Sarnia


Co-ordinated effort needed to address shortage of affordable housing

Sir: The Oct. 24 article “Housing Crunch: Sarnia’s growing homeless population faces a bleak winter ahead,” is not a new situation nor unknown to me.

I went to a meeting when city council was debating the fate of the former Sarnia General Hospital, with written pamphlets that urged the following:

* Convert the building into Veteran’s rehabilitation housing and a shelter for the homeless, for women, and teenagers.

* The present homeless shelters and the Inn of the Good Shepard could be incorporated as well.

* Provide health care, counselling, therapy, a cafeteria, communal bathrooms, showers and laundry facilities.

This was all ignored by virtually everyone at that meeting including the Conservative MP.

There is no reason why this couldn’t be done. The federal Veteran Affairs Office, Canada, and the Province of Ontario should be able to put up the capital.

But it won’t happen because most people really don’t care, and so they ignore this problem.

Duane Skuce
Sarnia