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Clifford stroke victim honoured for his community work

by Bonnie Whitehead

HARRISTON - Gathering to raise money for a man who has given much to many was easy for family and friends of Ron Topham of Clifford on Oct. 1.

Bill Scott, his wife Carol, their sons Jim and Craig, his dad, Jim Scott, and countless others set a party in motion in a driving shed at their home at Line 11 and School Road 7. The festivities didn’t end until the last ticket had been drawn from the bags of silent auction donations, the last bid had been given at the auction, and the last song had been spun on the compact disc player by D.J. Dewey Dodd.

Emcee Brad Richardson welcomed all to a pork and beef dinner. Rev. Heather Leffler gave thanks for Topham’s healing and offered a blessing for the food and for the people who arrived to him and his wife Pat and his family.

Earlier in the day, Gerry Topham and Steve Hallman parked their ovens on wheels and soon pork, sausage, beef, and baked potatoes were feeling the heat. With six rows of tables, set with 12 chairs at each there were a lot of hungry supporters to feed. They enjoyed fresh sliced meats, salads, home made beans, potato salad, pasta salads, bean salads, coleslaw, corn, peas, baked potatoes, pickles, beets, and buns. The array of desserts and baskets of apples topped off the meal.

In spring, Topham suffered a stroke and his road to recovery has had a limiting effect on him. He devoted his time to finding the tick in any motor and fixing it without delay whether it was in the shop or laying silenced in a snow bank. He lent his talents to anyone who asked for his help.

Brad Richardson and Les Stroeder agree, “He is a good guy who has helped so many, so we are just returning the favour. This is a party of family, friends, and well wishers who wanted to ‘pay it forward,’ as the saying goes.”

Topham worked for over 13 years at Demerling’s Garage in Clifford, and eight more at Pike Lake. During the time of his illness and diagnosis, he spent many a day in London hospitals recovering from heart surgery on April 20 and for weeks of rehabilitation.

“All the doctors, staff, and roommates were good people,” he said. “I received so much care. I even asked the doc to add a couple spark plugs to lighten up my life.”

Back at home one day, he felt strong enough to visit across the drive way with his neighbour Casey Van Eyl, a good sign he was feeling much better. A real burden for Topham was finding out that even though he was recovering and feeling stronger, driving was a definite no-no for 12 more weeks.

By the end of August, he was back behind the wheel and on modified light duty work at Pike Lake.

On Monday, he discovered a note about the party and was curious to see how they would get him to the event. He and Pat were simply invited for supper. They were overwhelmed by the reception. Babes in arms to senior citizens, all were eager to show their appreciation.

He was grateful for each of those friends and neighbours. Reading the guest book will continue to refresh his spirit.

Topham took all the events of the day in stride, offering thanks to his hosts, their workers, the sponsors, and those who shared in the evening.


October 14, 2011


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