Two of North Grenville’s most illustrious residents were honoured by the presentation of the Senate of Canada’s 150th Anniversary Medal recently. Gerald Tallman and Dr. Bernie Brennan have been vital members of the North Grenville community all of their lives, and this honour is well-merited. The recipients were nominated by Bob Runciman, retired Senator, and were presented with their awards by Senator Nancy Green.
According to the official statement by the Senate: “The Senate 150th Anniversary Medal celebrates the achievements of Canadians who have made a significant contribution to their community and commemorates the first sitting of the Canadian Senate on November 9, 1867″.
This sums up the careers of both of these gentlemen. Dr. Bernie Brennan has had
an amazing career. Raised and educated in Kemptville, he had an incredibly successful athletic record, and is an inductee in not less than three Sports Halls of Fame. As a hockey player, he won cups and was player of the year in High School and University. He was on the Grey Cup-winning Ottawa Rough Rider team in 1951, and played for the team while working as a vet in Kemptville. He managed to graduate from the Ontario Veterinary College, almost without interrupting his athletic career.
Since retiring from active professional sports in 1951, Bernie has accomplished more than most do in their lifetimes. He went to Saskatchewan in 1952 with the Canadian Department of Agriculture, fighting the hoof and mouth out break. In Illinois in 1952 and 1953 he was a state veterinarian. He opened a large animal clinic in South Mountain in 1953. He worked at Cornell University between 1953 to 1955. Back to Ottawa in 1956, Dr. Brennan opened a small animal vet clinic in Ottawa South. This developed into the Alta Vista Animal Hospital, the largest veterinary practice in Canada.
He has also been Commissioner for the Ontario Provincial Racing Commission, 2002 – 2009; Track Veterinarian from 1955 – 1962; shareholder, Director, and Board member of the Rideau Carleton Raceway. He has volunteered his time coaching high school football and hockey teams in Ottawa, raised funds for clean drinking water in African countries, and advocated for the anti-whipping rule in horse-racing events, now the rule throughout Ontario.
Gerald Tallman is a selfmade entrepreneur who started from humble beginnings but quickly rose to become sole owner of the Kemptville Truck Centre. Today his award-winning company, Tallman Group, is the largest private sector employer and job creator in North Grenville. The company has locations throughout the province and employs more than 500 people, making them the largest international truck dealer in Canada. Gerald is known for sharing his success with his neighbours through job creation and his support of numerous community events and services.
Gerald Tallman has been a gift to our community for many, many years. His generosity and commitment to his community has brought tremendous benefits to the economic, and, most importantly perhaps, the social development of North Grenville. From his early days at a gas station at Rideau and Sanders, Gerald has been part of the Kemptville scene, becoming probably the most successful entrepreneur this area has ever known. The Tallman Group was awarded the 2015 International Trucks North American dealership of the year, and Gerald received the International Trucks Lifetime Achievement award in 2006.
The prestigious award is presented to those dealers whose “consistent record of achievement and humanity throughout the course of their career has clearly provided a role model of excellence while enriching the value of the International brand among their customers and communities”. Gerry Tallman has kept his Group based in Kemptville, because, as he once said: “This town has been good to me”. Given the fact that Gerald Tallman is almost always the first person good causes look to for support, we can safely say that he has been good to North Grenville.
Congratulations to two great men: your community is proud of you, grateful to you, and celebrates this honour you have received.