The West Prince Chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) hopes the new bench at the memorial orchard in O’Leary will help bring comfort for those who visit.
Edna Gallant, treasurer and one of the co-founders of the chapter, said the organization had some funding available, and thought it would make a nice addition to the orchard.
“People can come and sit there, and all of the trees are families from around the areas, and it’s visited quite frequently,” she said.
Ms Gallant has a tree in the orchard dedicated to her son, Chad, who was killed instantly after being run off the road by an impaired driver in 2006.
The orchard itself was created five years ago, and was thought up by Tasha Maynard, also a member of MADD.
“It was a community garden by Dr Dewar for a while, and it wasn’t used for probably a decade,” she explained. “I got an idea one day to approach council and put some trees in. Working at the funeral home, I deal with a lot of families, and there were a few kids that died that I had a connection to. I thought the trees would give fruit, and kind of give back to the community, and it would be a place to enjoy and remember.”
Along with the bench, the West Prince Chapter of MADD is hosting an open house on Nov. 27 at the O’Leary Community Hall at 7 pm. Along with a selection of stew and dumplings, the open house will give residents of the area a chance to stop by and learn what MADD is about, and see how they support both one another and the community as a whole.
A person doesn’t have to have lost a loved one to impaired driving in order to become part of MADD.
“I personally don’t have any deaths or injuries (in the family) due to impaired driving, but I have three young kids growing up in the community,” said Councillor Kevin Maynard, Tasha’s husband and a fellow member of MADD. “When Edna approached me about this position, my drive was to prevent the younger generation from making the same mistakes the past generation has done, and the only way to do that is with awareness and knowledge, and that’s what we’re here for.”
For Ms Gallant, the addition of the bench is another way to remember Chad.
“Anything we can do to keep his memory alive is wonderful,” she said. “We have a tree here, we have a tree in Scales Pond, he is always remembered.”