Less than two months into the official fundraising campaign to build the Sgt. Mark Gallagher Memorial Vocational School in Haiti, the steering committee is deeply impressed with the public interest thus far.
“In a little over a month, $160,000 was collected in corporate pledges and our first major fundraising event is right around the corner,” said John Slipp, Co-Chair of the Friends of the late Mark Gallagher. “Archie McLean and Mitch MacMillan (chairs of the corporate fundraising) are doing a terrific job getting the financial donations rolling in.”
The goal of the committee is to raise $1,000,000 million in phase one which is the construction of the school which will house 15 classrooms and serve 500 students. Phase two will see the partners furnishing and equipping the school and training the instructors.
The first of three RCMP gala charity events will take place at the New Brunswick Community College in Woodstock on Saturday, Nov. 6. Businesses who wish to reserve a table can contact Sgt. David Vautour at 325-3000. Sister Gisele of Petite Soeurs de Sainte Thérèse de l’Enfant Jésus (PSST) will travel from Riviere Froide to attend as a special guest.
RCMP gala charity events will be held in Moncton and the Campbellton/Bathurst area at later dates.
As well, tickets are being sold on a Montreal Canadiens jersey, which, ironically, Sgt. Gallagher donated to the RCMP after he gathered several signatures of Canadiens alumni. This jersey will be personalized by Ken Dryden and Frank Mahovlich after the draw.
The dream of constructing a vocational school in Riviere Froide, Haiti became more of a reality when the plans and estimates for the project recently began a review process by Canadian engineers and architects.
“We want to make sure this building is of high quality construction so it is around for a long, long time,” commented Richard Blaquiere, who co-chairs the committee with Slipp. “Seeing the first plans for the school was highly invigorating, and I am so excited to see this project move along.”
Both Blaquiere and Slipp are encouraged by the number of partners coming together for this special project in memory of Sgt. Gallagher, who lost his life in the January 12 earthquake while involved with the training of police officers in Haiti, as part of the UN's international peacekeeping mission.
Besides local individuals who have the vision to see young people one day learning a variety of trades in order to positively contribute to their community and nation, several other groups and agencies are involved in the project. At the organizational level are Reg Sorel, Director of the Quebec-based Association québeçoise pour l’avancement de Nations Unies (AQANU), and RCMP Sgt. David Vautour, who is the special events coordinator for the project.
The Gallagher family, District 14, the Canadian Teachers Federation, the New Brunswick Community College Woodstock and the RCMP are highly supportive, and discussions are ongoing with various other organizations. As well, Tobique-Mactaquac MP Mike Allen and newly-elected Premier and Woodstock MLA David Alward and their staffs are playing active roles in the planning.
Donations to the Sergeant Mark Gallagher Vocational School Campaign can be mailed or delivered to the office of Andrew Lenehan, C.A., 261 Connell Street, Unit #2, P.O. Box 9064, Woodstock, NB, E7M 1L2.
Individuals and businesses can also donate directly to the project by visiting the Website http://www.gallagherschoolhaiti.com or by supporting one of the upcoming events that are taking place.
More information about the project can also be found on the Website.
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