As students prepare to return to secondary and post-secondary schools this fall, the Friends of the late Mark Gallagher have officially launched the fundraising drive to build a vocational school in his honour in Riviere Froide, Haiti.
Soon after an earthquake devastated the island nation in January, taking the life of the RCMP sergeant and countless others, the need to help was evident. So too, was the overwhelming desire to honour the memory of one of two RCMP officers who were on a UN peacekeeping mission, training and mentoring police forces in Haiti.
Based in Woodstock, N.B., where Sgt. Gallagher and his wife Lisa had been residing, the committee has formed many valuable partnerships, and members have been working to secure funding, planning fundraising activities and to put in motion all that is needed to begin construction of the Sgt. Mark Gallagher Memorial Vocational School, which is so badly needed to help young people in the impoverished country.
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 Leader of the Official Opposition and Woodstock MLA, David Alward and their staffs are playing active roles in the planning.
Please mail or deliver donations for the Sergeant Mark Gallagher Vocational School Campaign 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.
Currently, 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.
As well, 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.
The Moncton and Campbellton/Bathurst area events will take place at later dates.
“We are confident that businesses and individuals in the Woodstock area, as well as throughout New Brunswick and across Canada, will support this very worthwhile cause,” commented Woodstock High School teacher Richard Blaquiere, who co-chairs the committee with John Slipp, a Woodstock businessman.
“I am encouraged by the number of partnerships coming together to offer Haitian youth the opportunity to learn the skills needed to help rebuild their country,” said Slipp.
Anyone interested in learning more about the Sgt. Mark Gallagher Memorial Vocational School can visit the Website [http://www.gallagherschoolhaiti.com].
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