The project to build the Sgt. Mark Gallagher Memorial Vocational School in Haiti has received a tremendous boost as The Honourable Graydon Nicholas, Lieutenant-Governor of New Brunswick, has agreed to serve as honorary chair of the local coordinating committee.
Based in Woodstock, N.B., the committee and its partners have been working hard to secure financial support, develop fundraising activities and to develop the school in Riviere Froide, Haiti.
The Woodstock area was strongly affected by the earthquake that devastated the island nation in January. While witnessing the destruction, suffering and loss of life through television screens and in newspapers, the community also lost one of its own. Sgt. Mark Gallagher was one of two RCMP officers who perished in the earthquake while on a UN Peacekeeping mission training and mentoring police forces in Haiti.
“I am completely humbled and deeply moved to have been asked to lend my name and support to such a worthwhile project,” said Lt.-Gov. Nicholas. “This remarkable enterprise both honours the memory of Mark Gallagher AND helps those in need in Riviere Froide - a place where Gallagher had a personal impact, and a community which left its mark on him.
“I believe all New Brunswickers should feel some pride in this project.”
AQANU, a Quebec-based NGO with 35 years experience working on education and land management projects in Haiti, is partnering with the Woodstock Committee to build the vocational school. As well, both RCMP detachments in Woodstock and in Restigouche Chaleur, where Sgt. Gallagher worked, are actively involved and supporting this project.
Woodstock High School teacher Richard Blaquiere and John Slipp, a Woodstock businessman, are co-chairs of the steering committee.
"During my brief visit to Haiti and the site of the proposed Sgt. Gallagher school, I had the opportunity to see for myself the benefits that a locally administered vocational school would have on the communities it will serve,” said Blaquiere. “Young people will be able to stay home and work at bettering their lives and the lives of their families and communities.
“Such a goal befits the spirit of Mark Gallagher and we are proud to move forward on this project with His Honour, Lt.-Gov. Graydon Nicholas,” Blaquiere concluded.
“We are so fortunate to be in a position to help the people of Haiti,” added Slipp. “I hope to help create many and varied partnerships that will see us building communities and bridging continents. A vocational school is a wonderful way for us to share while helping to re-build the Haitian economy.”
The proposed site of the vocational school is in Riviere Froide, a community about 50 kilometres north of the capital city of Port au Prince. It will be a completely new addition to the community, offering practical training for young Haitians.
- 30 -
For further information or to talk to members of the steering committee, contact:
Tel: 506- 323-0152 (days)
Tel: 506-375-8229 (weekends and evenings)