Downhome magazine only has space for a mere fraction of the great stories sent to us by readers. Luckily, they're all available here. You'll find fond reminiscences about the past and personal experiences to which we can all relate.
Gary Rowe of Winterton
Gary Rowe of Winterton, Newfoundland was awarded a medal of bravery for the rescue of a drowning friend at Outside Pond in 1975. The medal was presented by then Governor-General Jules Leger at Government House. In July of 1975, he was also ... click to read moreGary Rowe of Winterton, Newfoundland was awarded a medal of bravery for the rescue of a drowning friend at Outside Pond in 1975. The medal was presented by then Governor-General Jules Leger at Government House. In July of 1975, he was also named CJON's Citizen of the Week in honour of his heroic actions. In photo, from left to right: William and his sons Bill, Gary, Norm and Wayne. (Newspaper Clipping from a newspaper coming out Evening Telegram, Dec. 19, 1977.) ... Hide full submission
I would like to nominate Cheryl Perry for this award. Cheryl lost her son 5 years ago to Testicular Cancer. Her son Adam lived 7 short months after he was diagnosed with Testicular Cancer. A year after Adam's death Cheryl decided to ... click to read moreI would like to nominate Cheryl Perry for this award. Cheryl lost her son 5 years ago to Testicular Cancer. Her son Adam lived 7 short months after he was diagnosed with Testicular Cancer. A year after Adam's death Cheryl decided to fulfill her son Adam's dream to educate all young men about this type of Cancer. Cheryl now has a non profit organization called "The Canadian Testicular Cancer Association" (www.tctca.org). She devotes her days at schools - educating men, having fundraisers, sending out pamphlets, etc. She has recently received a letter from a young gentleman who wanted to thank her. He said that if he had never seen the pamphlets, that he would have never known about Testicular Cancer. (He was diagnosed with cancer a few short days after reading the pamphlets). She is a true hero in my eyes. She does it so no man or family will have to go through what she has gone through with her son. For that, Cheryl Perry is a true hero. ... Hide full submission
Woodrow Kelloway, Wesleyville Over the years, Woodrow has reached out to help many families who have lost loved ones at sea. He was never recognized by the authorties for his great efforts, and just a "thank you" would've been better than any award.
Any man who has rescued family members who were lost off the coast of Wesleyville and given up for dead should have been given the greatest of honours. I am referring to the ... click to read moreOver the years, Woodrow has reached out to help many families who have lost loved ones at sea. He was never recognized by the authorties for his great efforts, and just a "thank you" would've been better than any award.
Any man who has rescued family members who were lost off the coast of Wesleyville and given up for dead should have been given the greatest of honours. I am referring to the late Raymond Howell who was drowned after much effort by his son to hold onto his dad. His son was found the next day crawled up under an embankment and cliff close to where his dad drowned. He was found by Woodrow Kelloway and his friend Beaton Best.
Mr. Kelloway survived a great disaster himself when a ship's mooring cable broke and smashed his face in. He survived this because a young medical doctor was able to get him breathing when he was air lifted to a hospital in St. Anthony.
He is a man who loves life, his family, and cares about others. He is determined to overcome any obstacles that may get in his way when it comes to helping others of his community who may be in distress.
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A trip to the War Museum My husband and I took our two grandchildren, Cooper (5 years) and Meera (3 years), to the National War Museum in Ottawa when they were visiting us. We spent hours browsing throught the exhibits, which are very touch friendly and therefore perfect for children, and decided to stop in the cafeteria for a bite to eat before exploring some more. As we were eating a group of about 12 uniformed military personnel sat down to ... click to read moreMy husband and I took our two grandchildren, Cooper (5 years) and Meera (3 years), to the National War Museum in Ottawa when they were visiting us. We spent hours browsing throught the exhibits, which are very touch friendly and therefore perfect for children, and decided to stop in the cafeteria for a bite to eat before exploring some more. As we were eating a group of about 12 uniformed military personnel sat down to enjoy their meal. When we finished I took Cooper by the hand to leave but he paused beside this group of men in uniform. Cooper said "Thank you" and when one of the men asked for what he elaborated with this statement "Thank you for protecting us".
As the old saying goes, "from the mouth of babes." I think we should all remember this statement as we near another Rememberance Day and say "Thank you" whenever we can to those who protect us.
Best of the Best
This past year, my son Christian Hapgood was recognized as the most proficient Royal Canadian Sea Cadet in Canada. This is awarded to the cadet who shows the most amount of leadership and has a record of community involvement. After graduation from high school, he was awarded a full scholarship with the military. As a Naval Cadet with the Canadian Military, Christian is currently in his second year of a bachelor of arts program at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton. Christian was born in Hr. Breton, NF. We are all so proud of Christian for his accomplishments, especially his relatives in Hr. Breton and Stephenville, NF.
Martin Edward Burke Martin Edward Burke was born on Angel Place, St. John's, Newfoundland on July 22, 1876.
I've often felt that a good writer must be able to conjure, conjure up people and places and bring them to life in the mind of the reader. Today I am going to try to be a conjurer.
Martin Burke I would have to guess grew up in great poverty. He would often say that his Mother arrived ... click to read moreMartin Edward Burke was born on Angel Place, St. John's, Newfoundland on July 22, 1876.
I've often felt that a good writer must be able to conjure, conjure up people and places and bring them to life in the mind of the reader. Today I am going to try to be a conjurer.
Martin Burke I would have to guess grew up in great poverty. He would often say that his Mother arrived from Ireland just in time to drop him in Newfoundland.
From the time he stowed away on a ship bound for Liverpool at the age of 15 his love of the sea was legendary. He served King, Queen and Country until his retirement at the end of the Second World War.
Because of his association with the sea he was known by one and all as "The Skipper" or "Skippy" to me. Skippy was the handsomest of men, not particularly tall by our standards, just 5'7" with a strong jaw line and a Grecian nose. I can only surmise that he must have looked like an Adonis in his Able Seaman's uniform. My first memory of Skippy was in fact his eyes. They were bluer than the sky, bluer than the ocean and according to my Mother the bluest eyes that ever were. By the time he came into my life they were rheumy and often watery but there was always that glimmer of what used to be.
He travelled to Russia, to Melbourne, to Balboa, to Cape Town, to Chile, to Brisbane, to Glasgow and many other parts unknown. To his fellow seamen he was known as the mad Irishman. I can only surmise that this was due to his daredevil ways and his antics with liquor, women and no doubt a girl or two in every port and any other manner of mischief that he could think of.
Being a man of honour he sent all of his pay cheques home to his mother. So with no money to spend, in the dark of night he and his cohorts would sneak into the best of the London hotels and steal the boots that had been left outside the doors of the rooms for polishing. They fetched a good price on the black market and "no harm done" he used to say! After all what's a sailor to do when he's only given one tottie a day aboard ship!
He fought with great valor as a Horseman Scout during the Boer War for Her Majesty Queen Victoria, in the trenches during the First World War as a member of The Royal Newfoundland Regiment (#2838), a Merchant Marine during peacetime and as Chief Harbour Pilot for St. John's during the last years of the Second World War.
Following in the footsteps of his ancestors he was one of the greatest of Irish storytellers. With so much fodder he could make the most mundane tale sound like a miraculous event. However his life at war and the years in between were anything but mundane. The greatest skill he picked up from his years at sea was swimming. On many occasions that have been documented he saved innumerable lives. During a sea disaster it is reported that he swam to shore over 18 times carrying people to safety. On another of his shipwrecks the Barquentine Earshall sank near the Newfoundland harbour of Quidi Vidi. It was December 23, 1914. The surviving men made their way in a blinding blizzard carrying their injured comrades over the rocky icy coastline until they came to the town of The Goulds. Most were near death. Skippy, however, remained unscathed.
Sitting next to him in a big soft velvet chair many years later looking into his bluer than blue eyes I heard many more stories. He got shot by the Krauts as he insisted on calling them and often let me put my finger in the bullet hole in his shoulder. For this injury and the events that surrounded it he received a handwritten letter and medal of valor from King George the V. He sang funny songs like "Inky Dinky Parley Vous" and others from which I'm not ashamed to say I learned my first "bad" words. He received three other medals of valor but they were never talked about. I can only imagine how horrific they must have been to keep such a great Irish storyteller mum.
This time of year my memory of him is particularly strong. On Armistice Day our home became a place of celebration. Until he could no longer walk he was up at 5 a.m. dressed in full regalia, medals polished within an inch of their lives and his cupboard full of rum. After the laying of the wreaths downtown all his comrades would come to our house and tell stories and make much of his little lassie with the big brown eyes and the black hair.
My father died when I was six. After that Skippy was my port in the storm. He carried me on his back when I was drowning. He used to say "Lovey, as long as I'm around I'll never let anything bad happen to you," and it never did. Not until he died on December 11, 1960.
My greatest wish is that I could have known him for all of his life and he mine. Martin Edward Burke was my
Grandfather. LEST WE FORGET.
The Capsizing of Joyce's Dream On Wednesday, June 18, 2008 Joyce's Dream left Port De Grave Harbour for an excursion on the bay and to show our cousins the scenery and hopefully, a whale or two, birds and seals. We left Port de Grave Harbour at approximately 2 p.m., there were six of us onboard. Captain Don Morgan, Joyce Morgan, Jill Morgan and my cousins from Barrie and Toronto, Harvey, Wendy and Marlene Morgan. It was a beautiful day, with ... click to read moreOn Wednesday, June 18, 2008 Joyce's Dream left Port De Grave Harbour for an excursion on the bay and to show our cousins the scenery and hopefully, a whale or two, birds and seals. We left Port de Grave Harbour at approximately 2 p.m., there were six of us onboard. Captain Don Morgan, Joyce Morgan, Jill Morgan and my cousins from Barrie and Toronto, Harvey, Wendy and Marlene Morgan. It was a beautiful day, with calm waters and the sun shining. It was a great day to be on the bay. We sailed across the harbour where we seen a whale, we then went into Brigus showing them the beautiful scenery. After leaving Brigus, we decided to go across to Long Pond. While sailing across we came upon turrs, puffins and seals, took some pictures and had a great time. We sailed past the oil tanker anchored past Kelly's Island and went on into the Royal Newfoundland Yacht Club, Long Pond. We stopped and chatted with Max and Sandra aboard the boat Sugar. After leaving the club we decided it was time to head across the bay to Port de Grave.
Jill went down in the cabin and brought up some chips and cheesies for us to snack on. We spent our time enjoying the sail and talking about this and that. We were halfway between Kelly's Island and Port de Grave when all of a sudden without warning the boat made a queer roll. At 5:30 p.m. Don had the microphone in his hand and said, "Mayday, Mayday, this is Joyce's Dream, my boat is rolling over and we are halfway between Kelly's Island and Port de Grave." When Don was saying the first Mayday, I was thrown into the frigid waters along with Harvey and Marlene. The coast guard came back and ask for our GPS position. Before Don could reply (up to his waist in water) he kept his hand on the mike and said "everyone off the boat, it is toppling on us." He didn't know whether or not the CG heard that last transmission. Jill and Wendy were hanging onto the rail and Don told them to let go and get clear of the boat.
All of a sudden we were in the water, (it all happened in less than 15 seconds). I seemed to be thrown the farthest away and I remember going down a couple of times and when I came up I was spitting out water. I remember saying "Please God, don't let me die yet," and he answered my prayer. The next thing I remember is Jill swimming for the life ring and bringing it back to me and I was sure glad to have that to hang onto. Jill and I than made it to the boat where the others were.
When we hit the water, Don took command and found out where everyone was. Harvey and Wendy were at the back of the boat and Marlene swam around to where the others were. The four females were pushed up on the hull of the boat once the engine stopped and the propeller stopped turning. We hung onto the keel, even though we were on the hull, water was washing around us at all times. The men tried to free the dingy, because it was tied to two small booms and was almost fully submerged in water. After a while with some kicking the arm broke clear and they were able to turn the dingy over. Once the dingy was free from the boat, the boat started to sink. We were told to get off the bottom of the boat and hang on to the dingy. Don was able to get into the dingy and when he did, he pulled all five of us in. (God gave him the strength to do this) I went in first than Wendy, Marlene, Jill and than Harvey. Harvey wanted to stay in the water but Don made him get in the dingy.
The dingy was recently added to the boat and it was the second trip out with the dingy. The dingy was bought from Aquamarine, it was an 8'x8" rubber inflatable raft, which was only supposed to hold 3 adults and 1 child. Even though we were in the raft, we were submerged in water at all times because we were overloaded.
In the meantime, we didn't have any idea of the events happening onshore. When our Mayday was heard by the Canadian Coast Guard, they immediately relayed it over channel 16 (every boater is on this station as it is used for emergencies). Our rescue, believe it or not, came from the Grand Banks of NL, Don's brother Ed Morgan, Captain of the Michael Mariner III who was on watch at the time 90 miles of St. John's, he immediately called CG and told him that he was the brother of the owner of the capsized boat. Ed was able to give them a description of the boat and the owner's info, but he was unable to tell them how many were onboard. He gave them the phone number of Don's brother, Wayne Morgan, who was onshore. In the meantime approximately 270 miles off St. John's in the 3NO area another fisherman, Alex Day, who just happened to be a friend of ours also heard the Mayday. He instantly called Harold Butler of Brigus (another friend) and told him to turn on his VHF radio because Don and Joyce's boat just rolled and they are in the water. Once Alex relayed the message on the satellite phone the phone went dead. Harold then called his brother, Ira Butler, who raced and called to his son Carl who lives next door. They rushed to their small 22' pleasure craft, the Dylan B. Believe it or not Ira and Carl have been our lifelong friends! They proceeded out to search for us. Back in Port de Grave, Wayne received a call from the CG asking him about the Joyce's Dream, and informing him that the boat had capsized. Wayne retrieved his binoculars from his house and did a visual search and spotted us right away. He informed CG that he had a visual, and where to steam - but they kept going the wrong way. Imagine the frustration they felt, seeing us and unable to do anything about it. Fortunately, Wayne saw Ira coming out of Cupid's and contacted him via cellphone and told him to turn and go in a different direction. Once Ira and Carl made that turn they immediately seen us and the rescue took place!
While in the dingy some of us watched the Fast Craft Rescue come out of Long Pond and the next thing we knew it was going North of us. We watched other boats coming, but all going away from us - including the Bell Island ferries, a sailboat and other vessels. Imagine watching a movie where there is a shipwreck and the people are in a raft and boats are coming and going and missing you. Well, that was what it was like. It was a very scary feeling. Wendy asked where they were going, but Don tried to remain calm and keep everyone calm. He said "That's the way CG works, they go in a straight line back and forth," and that "they heard the mayday and will be here soon." Don's level head kept everyone calm and no one panicked!
After what seem like an eternity, Don seen a small boat coming and waved the paddle. He said it was Ira Butler. What a sight for six soaken wet individuals. 52 minutes later at 6:22 PM in 1.3 degree waters Ira and Carl pulled up along side of us and started taking us onboard. First Jill, than Wendy, Marlene, next me, than Harvey and Don. We were so glad to be rescued, all of us shivered uncontrollably, and Jill and I started throwing up. Don and Harvey were on the back of the boat also throwing salt water out.
We were approximately 5 miles from Brigus, and were being taken to the nearest place for a rescue. Several minutes later when we were approximately 2 miles from Brigus, the FRC came up on us and immediately dispatched two technicians to hand out blankets, water and provide medical attention. They were excellent, trying to keep us warm and alert. There wasn't enough blankets for everyone but Max and Sandra (MV Sugar) arrived on the scene and threw coats over to us for extra warmth and bottled water for whoever needed it.
Even though we were onboard the Dylan B, things became a little scary once again, imagine this 22 ft boat with 10 people onboard - some of us thought that we were going to roll this one over, but thank God we made it to shore.
When we were going into Brigus it was decided that the boat would be beached. The rescue people were concerned for Ira's boat, but needless to say Ira wasn't one bit concerned. His major concern was getting us off the boat and into the helicopter. The boat was than beached where members of the rescue team from the Cormorant helicopter came onboard and immediately checked us out and it was decided that because of my condition I would be the first to go. In the meantime Don and Harvey jumped off the boat and walked ashore and was treated by medical personnel. I was placed in a warm bag and not a body bag as some people thought, placed on a stretcher and transported to the awaiting helicopter. The others came onboard the helicopter by walking, with the exception of Jill who was also placed in a warm bag and onto a stretcher.
Once everyone was onboard we were airlifted to the Health Sciences Center. It took us 10 minutes to get there and awaiting us were three ambulances. When we got into the hospital we were all treated in a very timely manner, wet clothes removed and warming blankets placed over us to warm us up. After several hours in the hospital we were all released and returned to the comfort of our homes and anxious family members.
This, my friends, is the real story of the capsizing of Joyce's Dream. A full story of all the events of the day will follow shortly, when we get all of our thoughts together. Many people have said to us "that we were so lucky, we should buy a lottery ticket." My dear friends, my family and I won the biggest lottery prize ever awarded, the grand prize of living to see another day.
Apparently, our story not only captivated the whole province but the country. We feel the key to our survival was that not one of us panicked and that Don took full control of the situation and keept everyone calm. We have learned many lessons from this experience and all we can hope and pray is that our fellow boaters, please, please take heed and keep yourself and your loved ones safe:
Here are some tips that we want to offer and that we will certainly be following the next time we are on the water, some day soon hopefully;
1. Don't leave the dock without your personal floatation on your back, just don't leave it next to you.
2. Place a cellphone in a zip lock bag and place it on your body.
3. Tow your dingy.
4. Have a ditch bag in your dingy with emergency supplies, flares, foil blankets, etc.
5. Always have your VHF radio on channel 16 and make sure that you carry one.
Harvey, Wendy and Marlene are now back in Ontario with their families. Jill will soon be returning to Alberta. Don and myself will take it one day at a time!
Once again on behalf of the six of us THANK YOU!
And to our Guardian Angels and the Good Lord we couldn't have done it without you.
PS: Please feel free to forward to anyone that is interested in this story.
Below is an email that we received from a very dear friend of mine.
"You all were indeed in the hands of God each moment. I don't believe in luck, Joyce, but I do believe in miracles. This is one more thing that gives us all faith each and every day. Your story is the story of another miracle. You were given a confident Captain, a strong daughter, an excellent support team, and hundreds of prayers in moments. Call it coincidence if you wish, but you all have more to do here before you are called away. "
Smile as often as you can and as my late mother used to say "KEEP LOOKING UP!"