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Nancy Recollet's spirit lives on through ParaSports program

Boat-naming ceremony honours one of the program's biggest supporters
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Bobbi-Joe Maltais, the daughter of Nancy Recollet, shows off her mother's spirit name —  O'demin Kwe, or Strawberry Woman — that is attached to a boat that is part of the ParaSport program with the Northern Water Sports Centre. A boat-naming ceremony took place Sunday in Nancy's honour. (Arron Pickard/Sudbury.com)

Naming a boat in someone's honour is a special occasion.

Nancy Recollet was one of the biggest supporters of the Northern Water Sports Centre's ParaSport program. She was one of the guiding hands in helping to secure funding for it, and then spent years supporting it.

It's for that reason her spirit name is now attached to one of the boats. A ceremony took place June 4 at the water sports centre to celebrate Recollet's contribution to the program and her vision for the community, said Thomas Merritt, past chair of the water sports centre and a coach for the rowing club.

Recollet died April 9, 2016, after a brief battle with breast cancer. She was 61.

“This is one of the ways we can honour her contribution,” he said. “Nancy was the project manager for the first grant for the ParaSports program. She saw the value in the program before we even had a program. It was her hands-on approach that got us funded the first time, and for years afterwards, she was one of the strongest supporters for the program.”

In fact, her support at the early stages helped send an athlete to the Beijing Paralympics in 2008, Merritt said.

On hand for the boat-naming was Recollet's daughter, Bobbi-Joe Maltais. She was joined by her family and friends.

“I'm super honoured they named a boat after my mom,” Maltais said. “It's helping us to grieve knowing this beautiful boat, bearing her spirit name, will be out on the water, and that her memory will last forever.”

Recollet was also given her spirit name through this process. Maltais said she approached Aboriginal Elders to find her mother's spirit name, and what came out of it was O'demin Kwe, or Strawberry Woman.

“There are a lot of teaching about the strawberry, about how it's shaped like a heart, and how its vines reach out to create even more strawberries,” Maltais said. “It's fitting, because she was a very kind woman who cared so much about disabled people. She was hearing impaired, and wore a hearing aid.”

A smudging ceremony was performed to bless the boat, then everyone in attendance was invited for breakfast.


Arron Pickard

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