BLT School - Timberlea, Nova Scotia

"A flower's appeal is in it's contractions - so delicate in form yet strong in fragrance, so small in size yet big in beauty, so short in life yet long on effect."

Adabella Radici

Flower Arrangement created and donated by Crabapple Cottage Floral & Gifts, Timberlea, NS

 

I’m sure we have all at one time or another wondered how we were perceived by others. For some, the answer will be spoken and for others, not. On December 5, 2007, the answer was ever apparent.

Following months of hard work, long hours, laughter, tears, and sharing of ” Paula stories” the doors of BLT were opened to welcome the many friends, family members, colleagues, dignitaries, acquaintances and school children who came to honor our beautiful sister, mother, friend, teacher and wife. The Paula Gallant Awareness Campaign had become a reality. As a token of remembrance, purple ribbons were distributed to all. These ribbons were worn with love and respect for the many women who were victims of violence but in particular, for Paula, as this was her night: Such a wonderfully fitting tribute to a voice that was silenced far too soon.

In celebration of that which would have been Paula’s 38th birthday, cakes baked and given in love by the many family members and friends of her community, adorned the balloon-filled tables throughout the gymnasium. Speaking to the love of a special sister, mother, aunt, niece, friend, teacher and colleague, birthday cards with words both touching and personal for and about Paula were interspersed; a beautiful token of friendship that will forever remind us of the goodness that abounds.

As guests entered the gymnasium they were greeted by the singing voices of the students of BLT under the guidance and direction of Paula’s dear friend, Susie Quackenbush. Never has innocence been sweeter than in their voices on this, Paula’s special night. Community moms, Suzanne Tizzard, who was our wonderful MC for the evening and Bonnie Tumblin who was our “behind the scenes person” worked tirelessly to ensure no detail was left undone. Yet again, the community of Timberlea reaches out their arms to embrace all who knew Paula and for this we will be forever grateful.

Special thanks go out to our honor guard for the evening , Corporal Tracy Philips and Constable Shawn Mason, whose silent presence resonated loudly to the level of commitment and desire which has been dedicated to finding resolution and closure for Paula. To principal, Doug Pickup, “thank you” for there was no place more fitting for the launch of the Paula Gallant Awareness Campaign. Her school, her colleagues and her students were such a huge part of who Paula was. That you continue to remember her; that you continue to whisper her name; that you continue to share stories with and about Paula; all, helps to soften our pain during those dark, quiet moments.

Superintendent Gordon Barnett reiterated the commitment of the RCMP in finding a resolve to Paula’s murder and spoke to the overwhelming support her case continues to receive. In purchasing a signature “P” for each car designated to the Tantallon detachment , the RCMP have conveyed their quiet pledge to make this case a priority. Superintendent Barnett’s gesture not only brought the audience to their feet with a resounding cheer but it also touched our hearts more deeply than words could ever express. Sgt. Wayne Noonan of Crime Stoppers shared with all a clip of the re-enactment of Paula’s case advising that it would air the month of December. Thank you Superintendent Barnett and Sergeant Noonan, you continue to provide us with hope that tomorrow will be a better day.

As Justice Critic for the Province of Nova Scotia, Bill Estabrooks continues to be a proactive voice for Paula. When speaking of she and her family he speaks with compassion and emotion; with a genuine interest and purpose; with an unwavering desire to move forward in this investigation. As Justice Critic, Mr. Estabrooks has proposed and has passed two resolutions before the House in the name of Paula Gallant. Paula has once again brought yet another amazing individual into our lives and for this we are so grateful; we are truly blessed.

The evening was such an emotional rollercoaster for the many friends and family members in attendance but ever more so when our next two guests were introduced. Shayla Crowell a student at BLT, created a Facebook account “In Memory of Miss Gallant. “ Shayla spoke with a wisdom and maturity beyond her years as she shared many of her memories about Miss Gallant. And as she spoke, Shayla brought a familiar warmth to the room as she reminded all of the theatrical side she and Paula shared and why they made such a great team. Catherine Jourdey, also a student of Paula, scribed a beautiful poem in which she shared her love, respect, and admiration of Miss Gallant. Paula would have been so honored to know that not only had she touched the heart of this young lady so deeply but that she truly was looked upon as a positive role model; for these truly were the standards by which Paula lived. Thank you Shayla and Catherine; you are very special young ladies who graced us all with your bravery, confidence and emotion. This evening will be forever treasured by those who had the pleasure of hearing you speak.

Words both heartfelt and bittersweet were spoken by a very grateful and overwhelmed sister, as she shared an overview of Paula’s website with the audience. As Lana spoke, her words reverberated with a love, a determination and strength for her sister and best friend. And, as she spoke, one could almost sense Paula’s presence in the room as her arms gently wrapped themselves around Lana saying “thank you; my sister, my friend.”

As birthday candles danced, glasses were raised, and the voices of the students’ rang out to the strains of Happy Birthday, the hearts of Paula’s family and many friends echoed a quiet wish and silent prayer that all would one day find an answer to their “why”.

Tonight was Paula’s night; a night devoted to celebrating a beautiful sister, mother, wife and friend. Happy Birthday, Paula; may you always sing like nobody’s listening.

"You're still here beside me every day
'Cause I know you by heart..."

Excerpt from “I Know You By Heart” by Eva Cassidy

 

Program
Awareness Launch Campaign
RCMP Support Paula's P
Crime Stoppers
A Student's Labour of Love
Paula's Poem
Resolution 704
Media Gallery
The Teacher - Feb. 2008
Picture Gallery