Hon. Jane Cordy: Honourable senators, I rise today on behalf of my colleague Senator Wanda Thomas Bernard, who is unable to be with us today:
Most Maritimers will remember the third week of September because of the damage caused by Hurricane Fiona; however, many in East Preston will remember it as a week that we lost two phenomenal women: Mary Colley and Doris Evans. They were both bright lights in their community and a constant source of support and kindness.
Mary Colley was known as “Big Momma,” a name that reflects who she was at the core, a true community mother. Big Momma relied on her faith to bring her through tough times in life. She was known for her generous spirit and her dedication and commitment to her family and community. I will miss her ability to make me smile and laugh even when I did not feel like doing so.
Doris Evans was a retired school teacher, church elder, writer and dedicated lifelong learner and educator. She inspired hope in her young Black students at Partridge River School, the segregated school in East Preston. She strongly believed she could make a difference in their lives through the power of education. Her motto was, “If I can help somebody as I go along, then my living shall not be in vain.” Even after retirement, she continued tutoring adults and children who needed extra academic support.
Honourable colleagues, I offer sincerest sympathies to the Colley and Evans families. I encourage my community to honour the legacies of these women while we grieve their loss. The memory of Doris and Mary’s love and support rippled through every member of the community of East Preston, and their legacies will live on.
Honourable senators, on a personal note, I taught in East Preston for many years. The community has many strong, supportive and active women like Mary Colley, Doris Evans and, indeed, our colleague Senator Wanda Thomas Bernard. They have made East Preston a wonderful place with a strong sense of community.
Thank you. Asante.