I am proud, honoured and humbled to be chosen as one of the two recipients of the Arnold Devlin Community Award by the Ontario Association for Suicide Prevention for 2013.
I want to give my congratulations to the Suicide Prevention Coalition of Champlain East for the great work that they do and for also receiving this year’s award. Please visit their website for more information, http://www.reachoutnow.ca/about_e.php
As I was doing research on Arnold Devlin, I learned that he was a true leader, visionary and change maker. He is described by colleagues as a “Champion, Advocate, and Leader.” Arnold fought for what was right but most of all he cared, he cared about people.
“He taught me parenting skills that I would have lacked and he gave me patience when dealing with others. He taught me philanthropy and how contact with others, regardless of how fleeting, could leave an impression so indelible as to last a lifetime.” Alfred. “He didn’t say he cared but he sure showed that he did.”
“I worked with Arnold during the 1990s at the Sioux Lookout Zone Hospital in Sioux Lookout, Ontario. He was without doubt one of the most passionate advocates for First Nations health care that I have ever met. Through a period when we were dealing with a suicide crisis of such epic proportions that our communities had one of the highest suicide rates in the world, Arnold worked tirelessly to stem the tide of the epidemic. There is no doubt in my mind that his hard work and dedication in the midst of the crisis saved literally dozens of young lives. It was truly an honour to know him and to serve with him.” Dr. T.M. Quigg, Collingwood Ontario
Words of Arnold Devlin (December 2007).
Part of the problem is that there is the misconception that talking publicly about suicide will increase the rate of suicides. Devlin doesn’t agree. “It’s a myth,” he says bluntly. “People need to know that it’s ok to talk about suicide, and that there is help available.”
Arnold Devlin was a passionate cyclist who is remembered fondly by many members of the Thunder Bay Cycling Club. This weekend, I will dedicate my long ride to Arnold Devlin and with great pride, I will somehow try to accept that my work is being acknowledged along the path that he created.
I thank the Ontario Association for Suicide Prevention for recognizing my work through the Collateral Damage Project with the Arnold Devlin Community Award.