This Thank-you is long over due. The members of the South Wind Brigade had the amazing good fortune to participate in a once-in-a-life time, eight day Voyageur Canoe trip from Kingston to Ottawa to celebrate Canada 150.
The entire Brigade of over 130 paddlers and 14 voyageur canoes were invited to be guests in Kemptville on June 29 of this year. This paddle was a challenging endeavour, even more so with the continual downpour from Merrickville and all the way up the South Branch to the water-logged shores of Curry Park.
Imagine the surprise of 130 soaking wet paddlers when they reached Kemptville. Neighbours offered to store our gear and, seemingly out of nowhere, a stream of cars arrived to drive us to a location where we could spend the night out of the bad weather. We arrived to find that the Rotary Club had moved the entire BBQ set up from Curry Park to the new site, where they fed 130 grateful paddlers. That night we camped, comfy, cosy and well-fed.
The following day, Pastor Ken Gehrels of the Christian Reformed Church graciously provided refuge, as we sorted out logistics to continue the paddle through Ottawa on Canada Day.
In addition to the Rotary Club and Pastor Gehrels, we wish to thank Mayor David Gordon and Councillor Donovan Arnaud for the invitation to Kemptville and for making the arrangements for emergency shelter. A big thank you to Doug Lee for his humanitarian response.
We also wish to thank David Shanahan and Maggie Boyer, of the North Grenville Times, for their support from the first discussions about the Brigade visiting Kemptville, until the last of us boarded a yellow school bus bound for Hartwell Locks.
Most importantly, a big shout out to the people of Kemptville! This truly was a memorable paddle adventure on so many levels, not the least being the kindness and generosity of the good people of Kemptville.
David Kroetsch and Kay Rogers,
On behalf of
Max Finkelstein and the South Wind Voyageur Brigade