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Dave Gray and Randil Claxton showed their passion for County hospital

On  April 17th  200 passionate supporters of their local hospital (PECMH) travelled to Queen’s Park to tell Minister of Health Deb Matthews that they” Wanted Their Hospital Back.”

Spokesperson, former Mayor Leo Finnegan, stated that when he expressed to her the concerns of Prince Edward County residents  she replied “you mean you want to DE-AMALGAMATE?” He replied “Yes”. It is hopeful that there will be another meeting  with the Ministry of Health officials next month.

We as a community must never lose hope and must do whatever we can so that the LHINs and QHC board and senior administration do not decimate our hospital further. Click here for full details of the rally.

Dave Gray with the "We Want Our Hospital Back" petition.

Dave Gray with the “We Want Our Hospital Back” petition.

The Queen’s Park meeting would not have taken place if it were not for Dave Gray, of Wellington. Dave is one of my personal heroes. He is a 73-year-old retired TTC bus driver who has had two heart attacks. He says that the staff of our local hospital saved his life and he wanted to do something to help them. He came up with the idea to have POOCH buttons (Patron of our County Hospital) made up. At first he ordered 50 buttons but the campaign “snowballed” so quickly 1200 were eventually sold. Working 16 hours a day Dave spoke to groups, distibuted petitions, ordered and sold numerous POOCH buttons, ordered four buses to travel to Queen’s Park, held weekly meetings for the campaign, fielded numerous phone calls and email messages, put up posters, spoke to officials at  Queen’s Park, plus performed many other tasks too numerous to list. There should be more Dave Grays in this world. But also the people who joined him. There were many hard working community members  that worked diligently to make the trip to Queen’s Park a reality. I cannot emphasize enough  the passion and diligence exhibited  by all the committee members with respect to saving their hospital.


Randy Claxton

Randy Claxton

While writing about our local hosptital, I would be remiss if I did not mention another one of my personal heroes, the late Randil Claxton. Randi passed away on April 16th after an 13 year battle with cancer. After an illustrious career with the RCMP and CSIS Randy and his wife retired to the County. Barb joined the PECMH Auxiliary and served as President from 1993 to 1995. Randi joined the PECMH Foundation  Board of Directors in 1996 and served as President from 1999 until 2007 retiring  in 2011. He was always very clear that the PECMH Foundation should always stand alone and not be part of the Belleville Hospital Foundation. This is not surprising as he was very proud of our local hospital. Randi was born in the original Hill St. hospital and grew up two blocks away from both the original hospital and the present one.

For many years he was a member of the Kiwanis Club, also serving as President. I think perhaps his proudest moment was when his daughter Geri became the first woman member, then president of that 50 year old club.  Here is a family that has clearly given back to the community in spades. Two things I remember most about Randi were his infectious smile and his magnificent speaking voice. In my mind he was truly a “Gentleman and a Scholar”. He will be missed by many of us but will always be remembered for his passion for his local hospital and love of his community.

Fran Renoy, Picton

Filed Under: Letters and OpinionNews from Everywhere Else

About the Author: Fran Renoy has lived in the County for forty years so considers herself almost a native. Both she and her husband Bill consider themselves very fortunate to live in beautiful Prince Edward County. She worked at PECM hospital for thirty years as a x-ray technologist,retiring in 1998.She has a very strong passion for her local hospital and encourages others to speak up and not be afraid to do so if they feel that services are being eroded.

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  1. dave gray says:

    p.o.o.c.h. worked because we had great people like Fran Reloy, and others like her working hard to try and get our hospital back. Dave Gray

  2. Wolf Braun says:

    There are two very disturbing articles in today’s Belleville paper. Some reckless comments from the people who run QHC. Here’s the 2 links….

  3. w miramontes says:

    Thanks, Fran, for another fine posting.We appreciate Dave’s efforts, and were happy to be aboard a POOCH bus, as we appreciate your efforts over the years on behalf of our fine hospital and staff.
    After 46 years of living in the county, we consider ourselves almost natives, too (my great-grandmother was said to have lived in the County in the mid-1800’s).
    Your tribute to Randi will remind all of us who knew him of what a fine and courageous man he was.

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