For 22 years, Buddy Loane was the man behind the wheel when Montague Consolidated students boarded the bus to and from school each day. Buddy passed in March 2017. That November his wife donated four Buddy Benches in honour of their granddaughters, all graduates of the school. As they made the donation, the girls mentioned their grandfather’s passion for justice and fairness, which also describes, in part, the purpose of the benches.
A student who is struggling with personal issues, feels lonely or isolated, or just needs someone to talk to or visit with could take a seat on a Buddy Bench and with the simple gesture indicate they wanted someone to sit down with them, to talk or just to keep them company and help them feel less alone.
The last weekend in May someone decided they wanted four of the five benches, plus two large wooden planters sitting outside the front doors of the school, so they took them. Talk about taking candy from babies. Stealing a gift meant to help children who are sad, frightened or lonely is just as cruel. It sends a message at total odds to the display of concern and caring delivered with the gifted benches.
Immediately upon hearing about the lost planters and benches, members of the Montague Lions Club took it upon themselves to redeliver the message that the mental and emotional well-being of the students at the school matters. They replaced the two planters.
The children will miss those benches and the social interaction they encouraged, but along with the shock and hurt of being the target of thieves, they were also the beneficiaries of their community’s kindness through the considerate actions of the Lions Club.