An example to us all - Shawn Loughlin editorial
Jacquie Bishop, chair of last week’s IPM in Walton, should truly be an inspiration to us all. She took all that Mother Nature could throw at her – not to mention over four years of what just about everyone else could throw at her – and she handled it with patience, grace and an intelligence we should all be so lucky to possess.
I, like many others, felt drained on Saturday evening as the IPM’s closing ceremonies crept to a close. I was sunburned, my legs ached from days of walking around and I felt doomed to dehydration in perpetuity.
But then, as Jacquie addressed those still in attendance as the IPM wound to a close, I saw something I had yet to see: Jacquie’s voice cracked and she teared up as she spoke to those seated in front of her. And along with her, many did the same (myself included).
Those who have been close to the committee over the years know just how much work has gone into what tens of thousands enjoyed last week. It was a massive team effort, no one will tell you any different, but there couldn’t have been a better leader of that team.
Every time I’ve spoken to Jacquie over the past few years, she has diverted conversation to the work of her committees. Whether it’s been Secretary Lynne Godkin or specific committee chairs like Matt Townsend, Barb Terpstra, Melissa Veldman, Deb Falconer, Allan Carter or Brian and Jeff McGavin, Jacquie has heaped praise on them all. If you listened to Jacquie, she made it sound like she did nothing at all. But we know that’s not true.
Seeing Jacquie tear up on Saturday evening served as an emotional release for everyone under her. It was finally over. Mud had been scraped up and skids of bottles of water had been handed out. All of the work and the politics and the worrying was over. Now, only the clean-up remained.
I have been speaking with Jacquie for years about the IPM and I have cherished those chats around her kitchen table near Bluevale. I consider Jacquie a friend. She admires the work we do here at The Citizen and we’re certainly fans of what she’s done for the community over the years – not just with the IPM, but through 4-H and everything else she’s had a hand in over the course of her life, not the least of which has been raising three strong, intelligent and impressive young women in her image.
But just as Jacquie would point to her committee chairs when asked about workload or the potential for success ahead of the IPM, they all pointed to her. She has been the fearless leader who continued to steer the ship towards its destination.
Jacquie is the first woman to ever chair an IPM and since it was the 100th IPM, she showed all of us what we’ve been missing.
Really though, when it comes down to it, I was just really proud as I stood to the right of the stage on Saturday evening. I was proud to know Jacquie and call her a friend, I was proud to have played a small part in the IPM through our coverage and Salute to the IPM issue and I was proud to be a Huron County resident.
When Jess came to the match for the first time on Saturday evening, I bounded around the grounds, urging her to keep up, showing her this or that and telling her all about the attractions and things I’d seen over the week. Jacquie’s legacy will be that she made us all feel like this was our IPM – to show off, to share and to be proud of – all thanks to her years of hard work.
Jacquie, you’re an amazing woman. Thank you for everything you’ve done for us.