Volume 12 Week 5

Sunday, Nov. 23


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Updated Aug. 21

Updated Nov. 21

Posted Sept. 16

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One rewarding
step at a time

As my campaign for city council enters its seventh week, I thought I'd take a little time to reflect on the journey thus far.

As I go door-to-door throughout the ward, one of the most popular questions I'm asked is why? Why are you running for city council? And the answer is quite simple, I'm running because I know I can make a difference. And I know this because I have been making a difference in peoples' lives, and the community as a whole, for the past 13 years.

I know this because for the past seven weeks I've been knocking on doors and meeting friends I never knew I had. Friends whose kids I've written about 10 and 12 years ago. Friends whose grandchildren went on to university after receiving an Orleans Outstanding Youth Award, or whose daughter went on to study drama after graduating from high school because of a story I wrote about the Orleans Young Players production they were in six years ago. Friends who are thankful for the story I wrote about their son or daughter's courageous battle with cancer.

Going door-to-door and meeting people, many of whom still remember the columns I wrote for the Orleans Star more than 15 years ago, has been the most rewarding experience of my life. And the cool part of it is the fact that I never know which door will open to reveal another friend I never knew I had.

On one street I recently canvassed, I only recognized one name among the Canada 411 listings. It belonged to the family of an extremely talented young baseball player who I once wrote about. By the time I finished knocking on each door on the street, I ended up meeting six families who's son or daughter I had written about over the years.

And so it continues. The great tennis player Arthur Ashe once said, "Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome."

He was speaking about athletics, but he just as easily could have been talking about an election campagn and the importance of knocking on doors and meeting people. I have no idea how my journey will end, or what the outcome will be, but I can say that the journey, at least thus far, has been a rewarding one.

The way I see it, I've been preparing for this journey ever since I started writing for the Orleans Star in 1989. But it's really been in the past 13 years, since launching OrleansOnline.ca, that I've truly been able to serve the community.

According to my daughter's count, I've written over 6,000 stories since 2001, all of them about a local athlete, artist or community issue. It's because of OrleansOnline.ca and the support I've received over the years that I've been able to do stuff like organize the Greater Orléans Canada Day Celebration on Petrie Island for the past 10 years and the Orléans Outstanding Youth Awards for the past eight years.

I'm running for city council because I want to bring back the kind of mentality that existed in the former City of Gloucester prior to amalgamation when the city was there to serve the people and not the other way around, which is what it has slowly become.

I'm running because I've reached a point in my life, with my kids now grown, that I can devote the time required to be a full-time city councillor.

But most of all, I'm running because I want to help make my community, our community, a better place to live, work and play. I want to help find solutions to some of the problems that have been plaguing us of late, like the lack of oversight on municipal projects and the need to divert institutional organic waste from landfill sites to the Orgaworld composting facility so that we can stop paying for a service we currently don't receive and we can begin sending leaf and yard waste back to the Trail Road composting site and start saving hundreds of thousands of tax dollars.

I want to help community groups and minor sports associations achieve their goals by rolling up my sleeves and working with them in coming up with solutions to their problems. And when it's all said and done, I want my constituents to be proud of the job we've accomplished together. But that's the destination. For now I need to focus on the journey that still lies ahead, buoyed by all the friends I never knew I had, and the ones who've been with me every step of the way.

Together we will make a difference.

(If you wish to comment on this or any other View Point column please write to Fred Sherwin at fsherwin@magma.ca).


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