On Tuesday night the Cote Saint-Luc volunteer Citizens on Patrol turned out in large numbers to City Hall. This was not an emergency civil preparedness drill. To the contrary, this was a festive gathering to thank our dedicated volunteers for their deep commitment in helping to keep our city safe.
Volunteer supervisor Susie Schwartz organized a lovely buffet dinner for the 80 vCOP members who patrol Cote Saint-Luc streets, parks and facilities at all hours of day and night.
Several members were recognized for going above and beyond the call of duty in terms of hundreds of hours of service during the year as well as for giving extra time to serve as team leaders and supervisors, handling administrative tasks, training of new members, continuing education of existing members, scheduling, vehicle maintenance and much more.
Also in attendance were CSL Public Safety Director Jordy Reichson and Manager Jerome Pontbriand along with Police Commander Sylvain Bissonnette and his right hand man Lt. J.P. Theoret.
Bissonnette and Theoret have been staunch supporters of the vCOP program and through close collaboration between vCOP, police and CSL Public Security, Bissonnette reaffirmed that Cote Saint-Luc continues to be the safest community on the Island of Montreal.
Mayor Anthony Housefather was on hand to personally thank each vCOP on behalf of Cote Saint-Luc residents. The mayor has shown continuous support and much enthusiasm for the vCOP program since its inception six-and-a-half years ago.
I saluted the time, effort and passion that our vCOP members contribute to the community. Our volunteers are unlike any group in Quebec.
Similarly, I had the pleasure of thanking our EMS volunteers at their holiday dinner just a few nights earlier. EMS troops dedicate hundreds of hours, 24/7, responding to some 3000 emergency medical calls each year. With enough volunteers at the ready, EMS has even responded to four simultaneous emergencies on several occasions this year.
At the vCOP celebration I also introduced Councillor Ruth Kovac as my partner in crime prevention. Ruth and I have been actively involved in emergency preparedness for over 30 years. Her husband, Peter, joined vCOP last year. Ruth prepared a poetic tribute to the vCOP members as well as to their spouses who give them the time to serve their city.
ODE TO A VCOP (by Ruth Kovac)
Twenty four hours in every day
Where do you go to give some away?
Time is such a precious gift
And yet you come here and do a shift!
Whether it’s Allan, Gerry, Peter or Paul
It’s a rewarding experience for one and for all
Driving a scooter, a van or a bike
It’s your eyes and ears
And your voice
Over the mike
From dispatch you might hear
“A child is lost”
So you summon all the troops
And all this at no extra cost
At Special events your presence
Is so needed
So once again
The request has been heeded
You don your gear
So proud in orange and black
Your heads are held high
There is no turning a back.
You might stand for hours
Watching over the crowd
Our Cote Saint Luc Residents
Can surely feel proud.
It might be boring
Bur never a complaining word
Just “doing the job”
For our wonderful suburb
Friendships have been strengthened while
Being on shift
You have also learned CPR
And radio protocols, all a personal development lift.
You often take photos
Of things that you see
And send them to Glenn…….
And then he sends them on to me
We talk about the those questions
And discuss at great length
How you all make Cote Saint Luc better
As we go from strength to strength
Perhaps you have seen
An opened garage door
Come upon a car accident
Or seen water gushing into a ground floor
The shifts might be many
Or perhaps just a few
But each one is precious
A donated gift from you
And no matter how your time is spent
Cote Saint Luc knows each of you is heaven sent!
So from Glenn and myself
And Council too
Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah