New home officially opened for Western Manitoulin Angel Bus

Cutting the ribbon for the home of the Angel Bus! Paul Leigh, in photo centre front row, gets set to cut the ribbon to officially open the new home for the Angel Bus, in Gore Bay. He is joined by members of the Angel Bus Committee, members of the Manitoulin Lodge Auxiliary, fellow drivers, Angel Bus supporters, business persons and individuals who donated funds, labour or materials for the new bus garage.

GORE BAY—The official opening of the new home for the Angel Bus, a wheelchair-accessible bus used by adults on Western Manitoulin to get to and from events and appointments, took place this past Saturday in Gore Bay.

“Thanks to everyone for coming out here today and taking part in the official opening of the Angel Bus Haven (building),” stated Ted Kilpatrick, a member of the Angel Bus Committee. “A lot of hard work, effort and community support has taken place to get us to this point.”

The newly constructed steel garage building includes a cement foundation on Gore Bay property at the curling club and near a Manitoulin Snowdusters building.

Mr. Kilpatrick noted the main reason for the bus garage building being located in Gore Bay is due to, “almost 100 percent of the trips the Angel Bus made last year were to and from the Manitoulin Lodge (Nursing Home in Gore Bay). It was found a lot of time was being taken and gas spent for drivers to go back and forth in getting the bus in Kagawong and then having to drive back after  transferring residents to events and activities-and back.”

“Just think, the Gore Bay Manitoulin Lodge Auxiliary started all of this in 2015, and we would like to thank them,” said Mr. Kilpatrick. “Second, we need to thank the town of Gore Bay, especially (town clerk) Annette Clarke. She had been looking for a long time for a structure where this garage site could be located to store the bus.” He pointed out that since the Angel Bus garage is on town property, no taxes have to be paid thanks to the support of this endeavour by Mayor Ron Lane and council.

“We need to thank Debbie Harper, our insurance agent, for all her efforts as well,” said Mr. Kilpatrick. “Mary and Brian Bell have come to all our fundraiser events over the years and last year they won 12 yards of gravel (that had been donated by Randy Noble) at our Spring Wing Ding Dance that they donated back to us.”

Rodney Corbiere of Corbiere Enterprises Red Mix Concrete of M’Chigeeng supplied cement for the foundation donating $1,000 worth of concrete for the floor and foundation, acknowledged Mr. Kilpatrick.

“Then there was the arch team, who helped us raise each of the 17 arches in the building,” said Mr. Kilpatrick, noting that this list included Randy Skippen, Brian Bell, Colin Frame, Dan Marois, Eric Ruediger, Stan Zieleniewski and Bryan Barker. “Thanks also to John and Karen Rozon, John led the arch team and helped with the 19 foot end wall sheets of steel,” he said.

Rob Maguire and TerraStar Building Products Inc. donated all the beautiful blue end wall steel, pointed out Mr. Kilpatrick. He also noted that Mike McKechnie of Mindemoya Home Hardware saved the group $800 on the 12’x12’ garage door.

“And Peter and Patti Gordon, what can we say about them,” said Mr. Kilpatrick. “We can’t thank enough for allowing us to use the garage building on their property to store the bus in the past. They kept their yard in immaculate condition. Even after a snowstorm, the driveway was always cleared and it was never a problem to get the bus in or out. And if there was any issue all you had to do is knock on the door and Patti would take care of the issue. And Peter, with his expertise in framing the 12×12 and person doors and installing the garage door without loss of digits or limbs. Thank you to both Peter and Patti for providing a home for the Angel  Bus for the past three years and ensuring the yard was always kept clear of snow all winter.”

“We couldn’t do any of this without our drivers,” stated Mr. Kilpatrick. “We have received tremendous community effort and support. And absolutely none of this would have happened without Sandy (Cook) who spearheaded the entire project.”

The building cost $20,000, with all the funds donated or fundraised for.