Giving doesn’t always mean spending money, or giving things, it can also mean giving your time. And that is what one RCMP Sergeant, Pierre Gosselin, had been doing every Tuesday for years; watching the Sergeant Major’s Parade, a training exercise for cadets. That friend is Matthew Brandon, 28, best known as Matty, who has autism, cerebral palsy and fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. He has the cognitive skills of a toddler and is non-verbal, but that doesn’t stop him from being able to enjoy life with the people who care about him, including his caregivers; Chris and Shannon Gardiner. Sergeant Gosselin and Matty have watched the parade every Tuesday for years.
It’s something they started six years ago in 2013, when Matty, who had always been fascinated by marching bands, stomped his feet and expressed joy with guttural sounds while watching from the sidelines. The Gardiners brought him back week after week. Eventually senior officers, such as Gosselin, befriended Brandon and even bent the rules a bit to allow him to march with the band following the parade. Gosselin even named him an honorary drill member and got him a grey and navy cadet uniform with the name tag “Matty” on it for his 25th Birthday.
But then Pierre announced his retirement from the force and Matty’s caregivers grew concerned. Part of helping Matty enjoy life is routine, doing the same things with the same people, every day, every week. When things go off the rails it makes the world difficult to understand for Matty and he can struggle with that; leading to him being agitated or at worst – physically aggressive. But even after his last day of work on July 5th Pierre has been there, every Tuesday with few exceptions. He knows the importance of the routine, and knows the importance of being a friend, and he’s a man of his word. “As long as I’m capable of being here every Tuesday,” Gosselin said, “I’ll be here for Matty.” So he shows up and gives his time. This is your Good News Story of the Day and you can learn more about these firm friends here. And remember, it isn’t always about having money or things to give, your time is the most valuable thing you have. Aside from your friends.
Story and Image from CBC News.