Tornado hero returns Canada Day with more found memories

By Jake Davies - West Carleton Online

DUNROBIN – While no one in West Carleton will forget the devastation wreaked on the community by the Sept. 21, 2018 tornado, what will also be remembered by the community is the kindness of strangers who came to our aid following the event.

One of those tireless volunteers is Bells Corners’ resident Ruth Sirman. Almost immediately following the tornado, Sirman began organizing dozens of tornado clean-up ventures, travelling in to swamps, farmers’ fields and forests, cleaning up not just debris, but memories lost to the devastating natural disaster.

Sirman and/or her volunteers could be found with their little booth of lost items at the regular tornado-recovery meetings at the West Carleton Community Complex, or at the Dunrobin Winter Carnival, anywhere groups of tornado-affected might gather.

“We had great success at Todd (Nicholson’s) Rebuilding Through Sport event at West Carleton Secondary School,” Sirman told West Carleton Online in 2019. “I didn’t grow up here. I don’t know these people. The students were amazing. They would say, I know this person’s sister, or I know that person. Teachers would recognize students they had taught.”

Sirman is an expert in conflict resolution but has for years also volunteered her time in search and rescue efforts.

Sirman is coming back to Dunrobin on Canada Day (July 1) and she is bringing some remaining lost items with her.

“I still have a Rubbermaid bin full of photos and other recovered items,” Sirman said. “We’re hoping to get some more reunited with their owners at Canada Day celebrations in Dunrobin on Friday and also at the Carp Fair we hope. I still have a lot of photos, some artwork and maybe a few other things. So, if people lost items during the storm, including things that were stored at the storage units on Dunrobin Road, we may have found at least some of them, and I’d very much like to get them back to their rightful owners.”

For the first time since the 2018 tornado, the Dunrobin Community Association is hosting a Canada Day event. Festivities get underway at 6 p.m. with a cake cutting at 6:30 p.m. followed by live music and fireworks.

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