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Bernie Vosman's legacy bringing people together

Bernie Vosman’s sister Jean MacGillivray (fourth from left), brother John Vosman and cousin Mary van den Heuvel (right) are joined by folks from Antigonish CACL and L’Arche, April 8, for the presentation of checks from money raised by the recent Bowl for Bernie event. More than $13,400 was raised at the event, now in its second year.
Bernie Vosman’s sister Jean MacGillivray (fourth from left), brother John Vosman and cousin Mary van den Heuvel (right) are joined by folks from Antigonish CACL and L’Arche, April 8, for the presentation of checks from money raised by the recent Bowl for Bernie event. More than $13,400 was raised at the event, now in its second year. - Richard MacKenzie

Another successful year for Bowl for Bernie event in Antigonish

ANTIGONISH, N.S. —

‘Bernie Here’

In a tribute to the love for and popularity of the late Bernie Vosman, who passed away Jan. 11, 2018, a fundraising bowling event in his memory, Bowl for Bernie, nearly doubled its proceeds from year one to year two.

“As a family, we decided last year that we wanted to do something to keep Bernie’s memory alive, and Bernie loved bowling,” said Jean MacGillivray, Bernie’s sister, said.

“We had it last year and raised $7,500, divided between the CACL (Canadian Association for Community Living) and L’Arche; Bernie’s foundations as far as we’re concerned. His favourite places; it’s what he would have wanted.

“This year, we raised $13,400, so far … it’s still coming in. Again, split for the two organizations.”

Carol Anne Boyle proudly displays her Bowl for Bernie T-shirt.
Carol Anne Boyle proudly displays her Bowl for Bernie T-shirt.

‘Only for fun’

MacGillivray was talking to the Casket while at the East Coast Credit Union Social Enterprise Centre, home to the Antigonish CACL, April 8. She along with John Vosman, another brother, presented the checks to the CACL and L’Arche, and were then joined by a multitude of folks from both organizations for a large group photo. The smiles were plenty; even well before the ‘say cheese’ direction was requested for the photo.

“It was held March 31; Bernie’s birthday is April 2 and we’ll be doing it every year as close to Bernie’s birthday as possible, before or after,” MacGillivray noted, adding it was held at Pins Bowling Centre on Post Road and open to anybody.

                “I feel that this is exactly what Bernie would want us to do,” his sister Mary Williams wrote in an email response to the Casket. “Feeling proud to be Bernie’s sister.”

‘A-1’

Money was raised through a fee for each bowler or team, bowlers raising money through pledges, the selling of book marks with Bernie’s favourite sayings on them (some sprinkled throughout this article) and a silent auction, generously supported by local businesses who donated items.

“And all our sponsors were phenomenal,” MacGillivray said, as it was noted that tax receipts were available during the event and 989 XFM provided great promotional support.

Friend and cousin Mary van den Heuvel noted that a spin-the-wheel game was set-up with some of Bernie’s favourite items as prizes.

“His favourite cookie, his tea, biscuits, pizza slices,” van den Heuvel noted, as others chimed in to add to the list.

‘That good time’

van den Heuvel talked more about Bernie and the bowling day.

“Bernie was my first cousin, but we were also great friends,” she said.

“He was a kind and wise man, hardworking too, and he was very good at getting people together to have fun. He loved to tease and to be teased, but he was also quick to say ‘that not nice’ when it needed to be said.

‘You bad’

“He was well known and well-loved in these parts and now he is still very much part of all of us. That’s what Bowl with Bernie is about. His seven siblings and their children want to keep Bernie’s legacy alive by being together and having fun. There was such joy and spirit at Bowl with Bernie, I could just hear him say, as he often did ‘That good time!’”

MacGillivray and John Vosman both noted the incredible atmosphere and spirit created around Pins by Bernie’s CACL and L’Arche friends.

“You can just feel it … it’s something else,” MacGillivray said. 

The plaque on a cedar swing recently unveiled at L’Arche Hope House in memory of Bernie Vosman.
The plaque on a cedar swing recently unveiled at L’Arche Hope House in memory of Bernie Vosman.

‘That hold me up’

Another special day and tribute to Bernie was held a day earlier were numerous family members and friends gathered at his L’Arche home, Hope House on Hawthorne, as a cedar swing was unveiled, dedicated to his memory.

A plaque on the swing reads:

“Bernie Here: Remembering the Life of Bernie Vosman

“Forever a son, brother, and friend from whom we learned, were inspired by and loved deeply. The virtues you lived by have touched the lives of so many and made this world a better place.”

The plaque also contains a quote from L’Arche founder Jean Vanier.

“To love someone is to show to them their beauty, their worth and their importance.”

“That was such a big day for us; there are seven (siblings) of us left and everyone came home,” MacGillivray said. “Even all the nieces and nephews.

“Bernie meant a lot to all of us.”

L’Arche folks Steffi, Angus and Christian enjoying the new swing at Hope House; set-up in memory of Bernie Vosman.
L’Arche folks Steffi, Angus and Christian enjoying the new swing at Hope House; set-up in memory of Bernie Vosman.

  

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