My Dearest of Friends:
There are many supporters of the that have contacted me either through email, the Contact Us link from the website or just plain old conversation, inquiring about this year's MSSA Christmas fundraiser.
After speaking with Moses earlier on, he advised me that he felt undeserving of a scholarship named after
The idea of creating a scholarship in his name to light and as it turned out unbeknown to us, someone else had the same idea but we acted faster, approached Moses with a plan, and simply waited for him to accept what we proposed.
"I must be honest with you, at times the thought of giving it all up does cross my mind. When my family and I have to go hunting down for prizes and gifts, then store these until the next fundraiser, making part of our home and garage a designated warehouse, but then, the reality sets in and I think that if it had not been for Moses where would I be today? Giving back is only a small token on our part and if we can keep helping students then the scholarship will keep on going".
Bob founded the MSSA back in 2010 after Moses had stated that he was
going to move out west to live with some family members.
Wondering how to repay him for his years of volunteering and dedication
to injured workers and all those lives he changed was going to be a task, since
Moses did not want any remuneration for his services.
Bruce is an injured worker that came to see Bob firstly at the
Thunder Bay and District Injured Workers Support Group. He then joined the
Board of Directors, and became good friends with Bob and Moses. Although Bob was to represent Bruce in an appeal, Bob suffered a heart attack, and Moses took over.
him while he was still living. Although in my mind regardless of him being living or not, the honour bestowede on him is simply a reflection of the tremendous amount of work he has put into helping others, especially injured workers.
As the Founder / Director, I must however respect his decision to have his name withdrawn from the scholarship. Therefore, I am so deeply disappointed to inform you that we will not be holding a fundraiser for the scholarship this year.
It has been a super journey and an extreme honour for me to have been able to give back a very small part of the benefits that my family and I have gained from this man.
People that have never met Moses are now inspired by his achievements, determination, morals and beliefs, that one can make a difference in other people's lives. He has proven this by his actions, in his career of choice, volunteering and mentoring simply to name a few qualities this man possesses.
As for the future of the Moses Sheppard Scholarship Award, it will be decision as to the disbursements of accumulated funds invested with the school board. I have several options that we are discussing in the committee.
Some of the choices we have would be, but not limited to:
1- Continue awarding the MSSA until the investments have diminished to nothing.
2- We can transfer the funds in whole to the school board and if we do that, we still get to pick the recipients and monetary award that will be presented to them by teachers.
3- We can transfer the funds and simply walk away leaving the school board totally in charge of the recipients and amounts being awarded.
4- We can transfer the funds to a new scholarship award and keep doing what we've been doing for the past 10 years.
One thing is for certain, that the past decade has truly been gratifying for me and I believe that the recipients of the scholarship awards would agree as well.
In closing, I would like to thank EVERYONE that have either donated items, money, gifts, and their time, because without your help there would have been no scholarship at all.
I must send out a special thank you to the one who started this with me. Liviu Vicol was very instrumental in starting this with me, and I do appreciate it.
To my wife Teri and daughter Renée, the countless hours of seeking prizes, getting them ready, wrapping gifts and setting all this up thank you! Throughout this whole process I can certainly say that your biggest challenge was keeping me on track, focused, and motivated to keep going year after year.
Bruce Curtola stepped in when Liviu left the committee, and I appreciate all the work he has done in the scholarship and the float for the Parade of Lights. That is one event that we will all miss. We've also received a lot of help from Janet and Bob Paterson, Deb Curtola, Herb Daniher and all the crew at USW. Thank You, its been great working with everyone.
Obviously the last person to thank would be Moses. Had you not given me the ok to do this, many students would not have had the financial support they received from the awards and I personally would not have enjoyed doing what I so respectfully did in your name and in the MOSES SHEPPARD SCHOLARSHIP AWARD. To quote the Timmins MPP, Gilles Bisson when I met him here in Thunder Bay, "to me, Moses is a Saint". Charlie Angus MP said "I have so much respect for that man, he's one of a kind". I think those two quotes say it all.
When asked what do you like most about being on the MSSA Executive Committee Renée said "I like to go shopping for all the gifts and prizes. We use that time as family time or bonding time. Getting ready for the fundraiser is always challenging not only to set up the prizes but making sure that everything is as it should be and that we have a great fundraiser". The thought of giving back means a lot as I've seen my family hit rock bottom and come back stronger, and that in part is due to Moses Sheppard.
Executive Committee Members
Although Renée has graduated with an Honours Bachelor of Commerce from Lakehead University, but she was not a recipient of the scholarship since it was created later in time. Now rather then benefiting from a financial award, she is contributing financially to the sustainability of the scholarship.
With her HBcomm, she has taken on the responsibility of the financial aspect of the fundraiser. She also helps with the accumulation of gifts throughout the summer and is a vital part in organizing the yearly fundraiser dinner at the Slovak Legion.
Bruce gave a heart warming speech at the last fundraiser and spoke of how he was a bit hesitant to accept joining the MSSA. "I was a little hesitant, as I did not know what to expect". But as it turns out he kept helping and finally accepted to join the MSSA.
The first time that Bruce was asked to present the awards at the TBCA, he says that "it was a bit overwhelming to see the Pipes and Drums Band bringing all the graduates to centre stage. It was amazing, something came over me". Bruce had never been to a formal graduation of this size. "I was scared and wondering in my mind how I was going to be up in front of all these people" while he would be presenting the awards to the recipients.
There were many awards being presented ahead of the MSSA, and Bruce recalls that "when I went up to present with Bob, I wasn't afraid anymore. I felt like this is what I wanted to do". I guess in some way, that is how Bruce wants to payback to Bob and Moses for the help he received from the volunteer group of the TBDIWSG.
So how does someone feel after they see what Bruce had just seen and went through with the awards presentation and being part of such an important day in a student's life, "after it was all over I felt very different. It was a feeling I have never felt before. It was simply amazing".
At the fundraiser last year, Bruce was asked to say a few words and at the verge of tears and with a different tone in his voice he said, "Thank You Bob for giving me the opportunity to participate in this awesome cause, and Thank You for letting me into your family".
Moses Sheppard Scholarship Award
Robert (Bob) Larocque