MORRISBURG – “Inclusion is more than a word. It’s life.”
Debbie Boardman, executive director Community Living Dundas County, who was unable to attend the official launch of Our Stories, Our Lives, included this phrase in her congratulatory message. The large crowd who gathered at Stone Crop Acres Winery on Wednesday, November 20, heartily agreed.
It was a very moving, yet happy, event in South Dundas as people gathered to toast the official launch of the new book, written by Susannah Joyce, celebrating the lives and abilities of some very special people in our community.
“Our Stories, Our Lives is a huge accomplishment,” said Leslie Disheau, chair of the Community Living board of directors. “I want to thank you all for coming out and for your support. This community is always there for us.”
The stories told in the book are personal and inspirational. Author Susannah Joyce spent a great deal of time interviewing the individuals whose lives she describes.
“It took a few years, but it was well worth the effort,” she said in her address. “It was a privilege to talk to people and tell their stories and to be inspired by them. After all, it takes many voices to tell a single story.”
Joyce pointed out that part of what makes this area so special is that this is a truly welcoming community. “People don’t just fit in here, they belong. The people in our book can be who they really are. And we want to keep learning and sharing together.”
Sandra Elliot and Daniel Kennedy, both of whom were interviewed for the book, shared their enthusiasm and excitement with the crowd.
“I am so proud of everyone in this book,” Daniel Kennedy said. “There have been times when I have felt alone and unhappy, but this community has made me welcome and happy.”
Sandra Elliot shared her pride in the book as well, thanking her family for their support, and drawing smiles with her final comment. “My speech was short and sweet – just like me.”
There was a book signing session after the event and a social time where visitors could meet the author and those who were profiled in Our Stories, Our Lives.
Norene Hyatt-Gervais, owner of Stone Crop Acres Winery was proud to host this special book launch. “It was fabulous having the launch here. We see Stone Crop Acres as a gathering place, and we wanted to celebrate that everyone is a part of our community.”