vCOP celebrates Bar Mitzvah

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Enough cake to feed nearly 100 volunteers

It wasn’t your ordinary Bar Mitzvah celebration but vCOPs by the dozens showed up to celebrate the 13th birthday of their community-minded organization, Cote Saint-Luc’s volunteer Citizens on Patrol.

From a handful of volunteers, a single patrol vehicle and a lot of spirit and dedication the group has grown tremendously over the years since I launched it back on July 1, 2006. (Search vCOP in this blog for the history and photos).

Susie and Harvey Schwartz were among the first 10 volunteers to sign up. They’ve since patrolled thousands of kilometers along the streets of Cote Saint-Luc.

Today, nearly 100 volunteers routinely don their orange polo tops and bright yellow jackets and patrol our city in four marked vehicles as well as on electric scooters, bikes and on foot patrol.

Mayor Brownstein and his wife Elaine joined me at the vCOP celebration to cheer on our amazing volunteers

vCOP is a one of a kind organization. There’s nothing like it throughout Quebec. Well structured, highly organized, discipline and training throughout the ranks, the group is a shining example of what hard work, dedication and determination of a corps of supervisors and patrollers can do in augmenting the safety of an entire community.

Dedicated supervisors and patrollers flank the mayor and councillor responsible for public safety, Oren Sebag

The event, a barbecue to celebrate the summer season (despite the cold air!), was held in the Lawrence Bergman Chalet of Trudeau Park. Several councillors dropped by as well as a sizable corps of police officers from Neighbourhood Station 9 and volunteers from Cote Saint-Luc Emergency Medical Services. There were public security officers on hand as well as the management team of Philip Chateauvert and Jean-Marc Dubois in addition to former director Jordy Reichson.

L-R: Supv. David Goldsmith, Fmr. Dir. Jordy Reichson, Susie Schwartz, Chief Philip Chateauvert, Supv. Elaine Meunier, Mgr. Jean-Marc Dubois, Fmr. Cllr & vCOP Founder Glenn J. Nashen, Supv. Phil Mayman, Supv. Mitchell Herf

When you see the vCOP patrols ride by give them a thumbs up and offer a word of thanks. If you see them stopping in for a coffee at McDonald’s why not pay it forward and pick up their snack tab. They will appreciate the gesture and you’ll feel great doing so.

Thank you to all of our vCOP crews. You are wonderful volunteers who deserve much appreciation. Here’s to another great 13 years together!

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vCOP fills the hall, Suburban chief thanks the troops

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Photo courtesy David Goldsmith

A capacity crowd of 80 Cote Saint-Luc volunteer Citizens on Patrol members filled the council chamber at city hall this week to hear the Suburban Newspaper’s editor-in-chief Beryl Wajsman speak on a wide range of topics, but mostly on the political landscape in Quebec. Wajsman was raw and uncensored, swinging wildly, particularly at provincial politicians. The considerably knowledgeable and articulate speaker was unscripted in his gashing assault against the political elite who he described as unconcerned about the citizenry and focused solely on attaining power by saying whatever was necessary to secure votes.

Against this negative backdrop Wajsman described CSL mayor Mitchell Brownstein as unique in his “openness and accessibility”. You can meet with Mitch or call him anytime. He answers his own phone, Wajsman said. “He cares and it shows.”

Beryl Wajsman addresses the vCOP corps of volunteers

But Wajsman’s ultimate compliment was saved for the volunteers in their bright yellow uniform jackets and orange polo tops. You are the true examples of what it means to be a community, to care for your neighbour and to help people who really need your help, he said. He congratulated the vCOP members for their service to the elderly, to all residents.

“I truly enjoyed speaking to a very special gathering of some of the most engaged citizens around. The CSL Volunteer Corps of Citizens on Patrol. The only one of its kind on the island (actually the only one in Quebec) and they cover every sector where the 33,000 residents of CSL live. Great Q&A too,” Wajsman posted to his Facebook page

Long-serving volunteers Susie and Harvey Schwartz

vCOP meets every other month to refresh on protocols and procedures, learn new skills and techniques and to hear from community leaders and experts in public safety. They are a dedicated and energetic group that give of their time, day and night, to safeguard the community. Once again, I salute CSL’s men and women in yellow and orange.

The D’Arcy McGee Medal of Citizenship of the National Assembly goes to…

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Receiving the D’Arcy McGee Medal of Citizenship of the Quebec National Assembly by (L-R) Former MNAs Robert Libman and Lawrence Bergman, current MNA David Birnbaum and Mayor Mitchell Brownstein

What a great honour in receiving the D’Arcy McGee Medal of Citizenship of the Quebec National Assembly by MNA David Birnbaum surrounded by family and friends. This annual event awards three people for their outstanding contribution to the residents and communities of the D’Arcy McGee riding.

 

 

David Birnbaum, député de D’Arcy-McGee MNA honoured three people for outstanding community service last evening at Ashkelon Gardens: Lina Fortin, me, and the late Gerry Weinstein. The winners were selected by a blue-ribbon jury of three former D’Arcy-McGee MNAs and Ministers, retired Justice Herbert Marx, Robert Libman and 20-year MNA Lawrence S. Bergman. The Victor Goldbloom Essay winner was Sarah Buzaglo, a grade 10 student at École Maïmonide.

Most of you will know that I have served in public office nearly all of my adult life. Allow me sum up this incredible journey in the form of my shift-on-duty.

Glenn J. Nashen riding aboard Cote Saint-Luc’s first Rescue Medical Fire vehicle RMF-11, 1981

 

Glenn J. Nashen, on duty, in Cote Saint-Luc’s second ever First Response vehicle

My shift begins. Fall of 1979. I’m a young First Responder in the Cote Saint-Luc Emergency Measures Organization. Dressed in a smart looking brown uniform, yellow stripe down the side of my pants, the alert tone rings and we spring into action, lights and siren blaring from our small red rescue-fire truck. An elderly person tumbles down the stairs at home. A car crashes into a light pole on Cavendish. Suddenly, a call for a cardiac arrest across the street. We respond to hundreds of emergencies, on every street in CSL. And that’s just the early morning.

 

I rise through the ranks of EMO and EMS, promoting citizen CPR training and pushing for Automated Defibrillators in public buildings and public vehicles, relentlessly championing for recognition of paramedics across Quebec, and advocating for air ambulance helicopters for the outlying regions.

Cote Saint-Luc EMO launched my side-career as an Urgences-Santé ambulance technician in 1980

It’s a busy shift and we are only in the mid-80s. My uniform changes colour, and so does the vehicle, as I find myself riding aboard yellow ambulances and doctors cars with Urgences Santé. Racing to life and death situations, performing CPR 125 times, bringing some people back to life and even delivering a baby. What a privilege. What responsibility at a pretty young age, to be in a position to make a profound difference in someone’s life during their moment of highest anxiety.

Councillors Glenn J. Nashen and Ruth Kovac enrolled at the Emergency Preparedness College of Canada 1991

My shift continues, it’s 1990, and I’m elected as the youngest member on city council. My first priority is to make cycling safer and CSL adopts the first bicycle helmet bylaw in the country! I play a leading role during major floods, the infamous Ice Storm, preparing for doomsday during Y2K, you remember year 2000!

Newspaper ad from June 2005 commemorating the 1st anniversary of the demerger referendum by the Cote Saint-Luc Demerger Committee Co-Chairs

No rest on this patrol. It’s the early 2000s and Anthony, Ruth, Mitch and I are up for the biggest challenge, to get our City back… and saving our EMS and keeping our police and our fire stations from closure.

The men and women of Cote Saint-Luc volunteer Citizens on Patrol

It’s time for a lunch break when a great idea strikes me… It’s 2005, CSL is about to be back in our own hands again, and I decide that we need to harness the energy of more volunteers to ensure CSL’s place as the safest community on the Island of Montreal. We need to enlist more volunteers, retirees, a group of neighbours watching out for neighbours. After lunch I set out on founding the volunteer Citizens on Patrol organization. We launch on Canada Day 2006. Now suited up in a bright orange polo top and in marked vans, scooters and bikes, we continue our patrol through the streets and parks and municipal facilities.

Fmr. Cllr. Glenn J. Nashen and Supervisor Mitchell Herf inaugurate the newest vCOP electric scooters

We stop to alert a resident that they forgot to close their garage door, a possible theft averted. We remind another to keep the emergency lane clear at the mall, we get the finger on that one, but that’s OK. All in a day’s volunteer work. An elderly couple thanks us for changing the battery in their smoke detector. We block a street from traffic and hold onlookers back as the fire department douses a house fire. Over to check on the home of vacationers. Then, we assist the police in looking for a missing child and we reunite the frightened youngster with their relieved parents. We feel pride and satisfaction knowing we’ve helped. We’ve made a difference. We’ve given our time but we’ve gained so much in return.

My first public council meeting as Mayor of Cote Saint-Luc, November 9, 2015

My shift isn’t quite done and yet another quick uniform change. This time for a two-month stint as mayor of CSL in 2015. What was once just a dream actually became a reality.

 

And as we head back to the station to wrap up this shift for today, in 2018, I can see how my my parents gave me the keys to these patrol vehicles, for this mission to Repair the World.

Receiving the D’Arcy McGee Medal of Citizenship with my parents, George and Phyllis Nashen (June 19, 2018)

So thank you mom, who just celebrated her 90th birthday and thank you dad, who is three days shy of his 95th. Thank you for these important life lessons in public service and looking out for one’s neighbour.

 

These lessons were also fueled by my wife, Judy, who’s always ready to give her utmost to her patients and to the community and together we are handing over these keys to our children, Nicole, Nathalie and Jeremy.

Glenn J. Nashen, Judy Hagshi with Nicole, Nathalie and Jeremy Nashen (*June 19, 2018)

So I close by again thanking my wife and children, because when my proverbial uniform went on, they knew that it meant I’d be away from the house again and again and again. Public service, and long shifts, do come at a very high cost!

 

My wife says this about me: My heart is in Cote Saint-Luc and Cote Saint-Luc is in my heart. I feel that way too about our beautiful province and our amazing country. And I hope that one day my tour of duty will continue and my unquenchable need to Repair the World (Tikun Olam) will take off in some new direction to make this place the very best for all of us.

 

Thank you as well to our incredible life-saving volunteers at CSL EMS and to our dedicated and unstoppable volunteers in vCOP.

Thank you David and our former MNAs Herbert, Robert and Lawrence for this great honour. And thank you for reading this and for “joining” me on today’s shift. I appreciate all the good wishes and support I receive from family, friends and members of the community.

 

Congratulations to my fellow laureates, Lina Fortin and the family of the late Gerry Weinstein

 

Celebrating with the Pressers (Sandie and Robert) and Fabians (Leslie, Ricki, Jamie and Sammi)

 

My longtime friend and fellow vCOP volunteer Mitchell Herf

 

Sharing the good vibes and smiles with my colleagues Stephanie Malley and Marisa Rodi

 

Siempre me complace celebrar con mis amigos cercanos Natalia y Pablo

 

D’Arcy McGee National Assembly Citizenship Medal Ceremony (Photo Darryl Levine)

 

Friends from way back to Bialik days, Ben Burko (and son Milo) and Gary Polachek

 

Mitchell Brownstein and I go way, way back. I am so proud of my friend the mayor and pleased to celebrate with him.

 

David Birnbaum and Glenn J. Nashen (Photo Darryl Levine)

 

Former Quebec Cabinet Minister Lawrence Bergman and I have had a wonderful relationship over the years. He has been a friend and a mentor.

 

Gracias Miguel Banet y Lulu Brenner por venir y mostrar tu amor y apoyo

 

 

Watch: vCOP keeping us safe in Cote Saint-Luc

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In my next mandate I look forward to growing vCOP beyond 100 volunteers to cover more time slots and patrol hours throughout the day and night. We will increase the Vacation Spot-Check to watch over more homes and begin visiting shut-ins – vulnerable CSLers who will benefit from an occasional visit and check up from our caring and concerned vCOP crews.

I also enjoy an occasional patrol with the volunteers which I launched 11 years ago and am so pleased with the accomplishments and achievements of this extraordinary group, one of a kind in our province.

I’ve worked tirelessly to ensure CSL is the safest place on the Island of Montreal and will will continue to spend my time and direct my energy to make sure it stays that way!

N

Dans le prochain mandat, je prévois de faire croître vCOP au-delà de 100 volontaires pour couvrir plus d’heures tout au long de la journée et de la nuit. Nous allons augmenter la vérification des maisons et commencer à rendre visite aux résidents vulnérables qui bénéficieront d’une visite occasionnelle et vérifieront auprès de nos équipes soignantes et concernées.

J’assisterai aussi d’une patrouille occasionnelle avec les bénévoles que j’ai lancée il y a 11 ans et je suis si heureux des accomplissements de ce groupe extraordinaire, unique en son genre dans notre province.

J’ai travaillé sans relâche pour m’assurer que CSL est l’endroit le plus sûr de l’île de Montréal et je continuerai à passer mon temps et à diriger mon énergie pour m’assurer que ça reste comme ça!

City thanks two outstanding volunteers

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Lewis Cohen and Susie Schwartz have been trusted, dedicated and energetic volunteers since I launched the volunteer Citizens on Patrol (vCOP) 11 years ago. The group could not have grown into the enormous success that it is without their incredible involvement.

vCOP Supervisors Lewis Cohen and Susie Schwartz (July 2012)

Among their many responsibilities Susie was involved in setting up vCOP at nearly every public event for the past decade while Lewis has made himself available to respond to emergency calls at any hour of day or night.
While their responsibilities are shifting the City Council recognized them at the last public council meeting.
Volunteers are the backbone of Cote Saint-Luc. We cannot thank them enough.

City Council recognizes volunteer Citizens on Patrol supervisors Lewis Cohen and Susie Schwartz

Ringing your bell to check smoke detectors

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vCOP checking smoke detectors between Westminster and Melling

 

Members from our volunteer Citizens on Patrol, or vCOP, will be ringing doorbells from now until October 1 on Melling Ave., Mackle Rd. Westminster to Melling, and Wavell Rd. from Westminster to Melling.
These vCOP members are part of our smoke detector brigade service. They will be offering to test the smoke detectors in your home. They’ll also replace batteries where needed, for free.
Our vCOP members always work in teams of two. They will be wearing their orange vCOP shirt or jacket. They will also have a photo ID.
Remember, you should always be cautious before opening the door and letting anyone into your home. If you aren’t sure, don’t open the door.

vCOP Smoke Detector Brigade goes door to door inspecting mandatory smoke detectors and will go so far as to install a new one (Photo: Martin Chamberland, La Presse)

D’ici au 1er octobre, les membres de notre patrouille bénévole, les vCOP, visiteront les résidences des rues  Melling, Mackle (entre Westminster et Melling), et Wavell (entre Westminster et Melling).
 
Ces membres font partie de notre brigade de détecteurs de fumée. Ils vous proposeront de vérifier les  détecteurs de votre résidence et, au besoin, changeront la pile. Ceci est un service gratuit. 
 
Nos vCOP travaillent toujours en équipe de deux. Ils portent une veste ou un chandail de vCOP orange. Ils ont aussi une carte d’identité avec leur photo. 
 
Nous vous rappelons de toujours exercer de la prudence lorsque vous ouvrez votre porte et laissez entrer quelqu’un chez vous. Si vous n’êtes pas certain, n’ouvrez pas la porte. 

On the Road with vCOP

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