Appreciation: He Gets Out And Does It!

By Joe Barkovich, Scribbler-at-large

I write this out of admiration for my friend, Paul Turner.

He retired a few years ago from teaching after a 32-year career at Notre Dame, but it does not mean he retired from community involvement. To the contrary.

His latest project is just one example.

Turner is working on It’s All Welland Good (Part 4). He doesn’t know I’ve been working on this piece, I may have to forfeit my friendship card after he reads it.

The inaugural It’s All Welland Good, in October, 2014, was a celebration of so many good things happening in the community, from arts and wellness to business and youth, among others. It shone a light on Welland, it helped people see the positivity in their midst.

But it couldn’t be a one-shot deal, Turner would say, it had to be a continuing initiative, and so it is. Hence here we are at Part 4.

With the theme A Compassionate Community, it fits Welland and Wellanders like a glove.

Through his other involvements like Strategies to End Poverty Niagara (STEP Niagara), kNOw Poverty, Julia’s Hope Cup and Hope Centre, Turner knows that his hometown is a compassionate community.

The event he is working on involves a dinner on Thursday, October 3 and a connection to the federal election later that month, probably October 21.

Niagara Centre candidates have been invited to the dinner. Each will have 5-6 minutes to answer one question: “How will your party help the most vulnerable, those living on the margins in our community?”

Here’s what makes this event something special. People are being asked to buy a ticket for themselves and to “sponsor” one or two people living on the margins so they can have dinner, listen to the election candidates and have opportunity to meet them.

“Some people might not ever get a chance to do something like this,” said Turner. “This is where our compassion comes in, our commitment to caring for others.”

If ticket buyers don’t know who to sponsor, assistance will be provided through Turner’s contacts in community groups and social agencies.

Along with the dinner and political commentary, entertainment will be provided during dinner and for a short time afterward by local musicians.

My friend Turner has been brimming with confidence ever since he pitched the idea several weeks ago.

He said it is being warmly received when he speaks about it to myriad friends and contacts in the community.

This man’s alter ego is what I have fondly named the energizer Turner – he just keeps on giving and giving of himself! How can you not admire him?

There’s no end to this giving and giving. As a community we should count ourselves fortunate.

Over the years I became a sidekick because Turner is one of those people we are blessed to have in our midst, people who do more than just talk about doing good. He gets out and does it. That’s what makes him inspiring to others.

For more information about It’s All Welland Good (Part 4) and ticket availability, call Turner at 905-734-8203.

It’s your chance to do some good too.

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