Author - Jean HerouxSubmitted By - Jean Heroux
September 22 2010
“ A Fallen Hero”
Brodie, Emily, Olivia, Mr. and Mrs. Schwartz, Mr. and Mrs. Kuntz, Family and Friends.
If I were an artist, I would use the gift of my hands to remember fallen soldiers of the hydro industry through the creation of fine art. I have had a vision for many years of walking into a collectibles boutique and find on a shelf of its own, above the figurines of firemen, police and medical professionals, a shelf filled with figurines of Hydro Restoration workers and Electricians. Scores of skilled workers who risk their lives to harness the power of electricity in any weather conditions for the service of customers who depend on them to get the power back on.
There on the shelf, I would see a figurine of “Woody”, Brodie had a white cowboy hat with the name Woody on the front of it which he wore proudly to give his co-workers a good laugh. Power Line Maintainers are an amazing group of people. Brodie Schwartz was one of the best I have ever had the privilege of working with and sharing emotions with.
I am honored that the family has given be a life gift to speak to all of you today about such a fine outstanding young man. Brodie entered my life many years ago as a coop student. It was obvious to me that he was a special individual with great spiritual upbringings and life values from his mom and dad. Brodie embarked on his career to be a power line worker. He spent 12 months with Westerio Power as a coop student and in turn was registered with Skills and Development Canada as a power line apprentice; Brodie then proceeded to gain employment at Kline Construction and Maintenance in Toronto, to fulfill his apprenticeship.
Over the years of his development Brodie would come to my home and visit with my wife and I, we would sit for hours discussing all of his newfound experiences and war stories. The higher the poles, the bigger the trucks and the size of the projects would all be key motivators in Brodie’s excitement for the trade. Brodie's enthusiasm in becoming the best that he could be was obvious from the first time I met him. Westario was fortunate to get Brodie back to our family in 2009. Brodie was a remarkable power line maintainer. He not only left his signature on all those he knew in life, but every pole he worked on was signed by Brodie through his discipline and finesse of exactly how he wanted his work to look. The trucks he ran needed to be clean and stocked and sparkling. Brodie is a warrior, a soldier of restoration, and a true hero of the Power Line Industry.
A few weeks ago I called Brodie at home as I felt I was being reminded by a greater power to call him and praise him for the quality of work he completed for Westario Power and its customers. I thanked him for leaving his signature on every pole he worked on. I told him that I just needed to look up and I knew, it was Brodie’s signature quality of work. I am so thankful that I was able to tell him how proud I was of his work ethics and how he took so much pride in his work.
Today, I am honored to wear a pin on my lapel for Brodie's father. For me, it was a gift to support and honor the values and faith that Brodie’s parents instilled in him. The pin signifies a Canary in a Cage. The emblem stands for a day of mourning for workers who have lost their lives in the line of duty. The Canadian Labour Congress adopted this day in 1984. In 1991 the federal government adopted the date of April 28th to recognize workers who have fallen in the line of duty. In the 19th century canaries were brought in the mines to help workers recognize breathable working conditions. Let us all remember April 28th every year to honor our lost soldier, Brodie Schwartz.
Mr. Schwartz, thank you for this honor, I wear it proudly for you today.
Today we celebrate the loss of a true spirit; he will be an angel of laughter and guidance for us all to carry with us for the rest of our lives. Brodie and I always referred to one and other as Son and Dad in the work environment. When Brodie entered my office, immediately a feeling of joy and happiness entered my soul. He was the happiest young man I have ever met. Every morning started with “Hi Dad and I would reply Hello Son. The rest of the staff thought we were quite strange, but it was our small connection that we shared together.
In closing, to my colleagues in the field of Power Line Maintainers, lets take the extra step when we terminate a triplex service, when we build a three phase bank and dress the harness, sign it with finesse and keep the fleet of vehicles sparkling. Because today and forever, that is what Brodie would have wanted. Let us honor his passion and dedication to his craft.
God bless you all and thank you, Brodie, Emily, sweet Olivia, Mr. and Mrs. Schwartz, Mr. and Mrs. Kuntz, Family and Friends.