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Week of June 18

Time to close the empathy gap for seniors Sir: Once again our armed forces have saved us, this time from our blindness to the plight of seniors living in long-term care (LTC) homes.
Letters to the editor

Time to close the empathy gap for seniors

Sir: Once again our armed forces have saved us, this time from our blindness to the plight of seniors living in long-term care (LTC) homes.

Often referred to as nursing homes, these facilities house our most medically vulnerable seniors, those who require the most care.

The forces report submitted to the federal government describes a merciless state of affairs wherein the oldest of our society are subjected to the most suffering and depraved conditions.

It describes social isolation akin to solitary confinement, personal care tantamount to abuse, and fatality rates of about 80% of all COVID-19 cases nationally.

For too long an empathy gap has existed in our treatment of seniors. The adage "out of sight, out of mind" evolved for more than 25 years. This gap is reflected in a recent international study of long-term care in Canada wherein the highest proportion of virus deaths ranks us as the worst of 14 countries globally.

Corroboration of this desperate state of affairs is found in a Toronto area LTC home where the police are now investigating criminal negligence for failing to provide the necessities to residents.

The necessity of having to bring in the army and the police is an odious indicator of elder care in Canada.

As a local senior care advocacy group, we join with others across the province calling for a full public inquiry into the state of LTC homes. It has been a cumulative lack of accountability from experts within government ministries, who have shepherded the care of vulnerable elderly to this disastrous state.

The time is now to close the empathy gap.

Premier Ford, show you care. Create a full public inquiry.

Yours truly,

Roger Gallaway, Arlene Patterson, Andrew Bolter, Margaret Bell, Jennifer Mullins

Navigating Senior Care Lambton

Remembering legacy of great musician and teacher

Sir: Regarding Phil Egan’s May 21 column: “Trumpeting a 145-year tradition of stirring concert bands.”

As a former member of both the Lambton Concert Band and Sarnia Citizens Band I was surprised there was no mention of former conductor Willy Timmermans.

Mr. Timmermans was one of the most respected musicians and teachers in Sarnia’s history. Trained in Europe, he emigrated from Belgium to Canada and settled in Sarnia in the early 1960s.

At Central Collegiate, he developed a music program that was unequalled, and was conductor of the Sarnia Citizens Band for many successful years.

Countless young students and adults rehearsed and performed weekly throughout the summers, and Mr. Timmermans’ students today are scattered worldwide as professional musicians and teachers.

Ask any of his students and you’ll understand what an incredible musician, teacher, and friend he was.

I can proudly say Willy was my teacher and friend. He instilled in me the confidence and work ethic needed when auditioning for the Humber College Concert Band (clarinet, sax), the National Concert Band of Canada, and while conducting my own concert bands at Northern Collegiate and St. Clair Secondary.

The Sarnia Citizens Band had many members from the talented Central senior band. We played for the Governor General, at Remembrance Day ceremonies, and at well-attended weekly summer concerts in Canatara Park.

I have played with and been a guest conductor in the latest version, the Lambton Concert Band, with the ebullient Tessa Catton, who leads with Timmermans alumni players Carole Mitro and Vicky McAree.

When Willy retired, I took over his music room at Northern.

Recently, wife Michelle and I attended a funeral. Because of the COVID restrictions we had to watch from outside the cemetery fence. It was heartbreaking.

While waiting, I looked down and there among the headstones was the grave of Willy and Adrienne Timmermans. It took my breath away.

It was nice seeing their pictures on the monument, and it gave me the strength to get through the funeral and to write this.

Thank you Willy.

Al Weiss


Thanks for making 100th birthday something special

Sir: We would like to express our heartfelt thanks to family, friends and people of Sarnia for participating in the May 22 car parade honouring our mother, Lillian Price, on her 100th birthday.

The fact so many took time to be part of this wonderful celebration speaks volumes about the caring community that is Sarnia!

The car honks, decorations, waves, smiles, cards, posters, and flowers were deeply appreciated by Lillian.

Many thanks to the staff of Rosewood Village, Mayor Bradley, local media, and Sarnia Police for traffic control.

We deeply appreciate the efforts of all who helped make this birthday one she will always remember.

Price and Haughey families

(Janet and Gerard, Russ and Lisa, James and Lynda)


A better place to report severe weather

Sir: In the June 4 issue a reader reported 911 wasn’t interested in hearing about a funnel cloud over Lake Huron.

Such reports should be made to Environment Canada. Weather alerts contain the statement: "To report severe weather, send an email to [email protected] or tweet reports using #ONStorm."

Environment Canada can then issue a watch or warning as appropriate. Hope this helps.

Bill Hoad


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