On Jul 27th, 2017, Vision organized an event to celebrate and honour Gary Briand, in partnership with the Douglastown Community Centre, CASA, the ESSB, the Shamrock Golden Age Club, and the Gaspésie Literacy Council.
Gary is one of the Vision’s founding members and has served on our Board of Directors since 2004 when our organization was established. He has been an instrumental force for the English community throughout his life, working to establish and run countless organizations and initiatives, giving his time and knowledge to educate anyone and everyone in need, and creating connections and partnerships that have turned his work and ideas into a legacy for the Gaspé coast.
This year, Gary has chosen to step down from our Board of Directors. In recognition of all that he has done for us and for the community throughout his life, Vision has awarded him our Volunteer of the Year Award. To present this award and to celebrate his life’s work, we threw him a surprise party at the Douglastown Community Centre.
Was Gary surprised? Absolutely – not just by the 80 people present to celebrate him, or the gifts he received (a signed print of Bobby Orr, a Boston Bruins jersey, a fruit basket, and a bottle of O’Dwyer gin), but also by the number of people who responded to Vision’s call for testimonies and stories of Gary’s influence in their lives. Most of these were sent through social media and e-mail, from all across Quebec and beyond, detailing the wonderful ways that Gary has touched innumerable lives.
Our Executive Director, Jessica Synnott, said of the event, “the night went perfectly. There was such a great participation from the people in attendance in sharing their stories.” Director General of the Eastern Shores School Board, Howard Miller, felt that the signed print of Bobby Orr “soaring through the air in his iconic goal…was highly symbolic for Gary has soared through the air for all of us.”
All in all, it was truly “a great night to honour a great man.” We wish you all the best Gary, your wisdom and your efforts to preserve and strengthen our community will be picked up by those of us who follow in your footsteps.