By Rideau-Jock Councillor David Brown
Our community received some very sad news recently. John Brummell passed away leaving many of us with heavy hearts. John was very devoted to his wife Rosemary, daughter Deborah and, son-in-law AJ, as well as many family and friends. And his life is a reminder of the importance of local newspapers, journalists, and reporting to our communities’ cultures and vitality.
John was our newspaper man from the Stittsville News for decades. So many of us recall seeing him because he connected the community with his newspaper photos. He captured photos of kids playing sports, graduation ceremonies, Lions Club presentations, Scouts, Brownies, Girl Guides, Legion presentations, the Richmond Fair, 4-H club banquets, the Goulbourn Historical Society and Horticultural Society, for as long as I can remember.
John was everywhere. We loved seeing our activities, fundraisers, local BBQs, and special events covered by him in the newspaper. And, everyone knew John. He loved his work, and it showed. He always greeted people with his big smile.
As an active volunteer in the community, John was a member of the Goulbourn Historical Society, Goulbourn Horticultural Society, and a Director with the Richmond Agricultural Society, just to name a few. His lifelong contribution as a volunteer was his commitment to making our communities a wonderful place to live. John received a City of Ottawa City Builder’s award in 2017 because of his incredible success at bringing the community together through his involvement and love of photography.
Our memory of John Brummell must also include his best friend, John Curry, whom he missed tremendously this past year. Known as the ”Two John’s”, they both had some great stories of events they covered together for so many years. The two men also received many awards for their outstanding achievement as newspaper men.
With John’s passing, it truly is an end of an era for our community. John was a pillar of the Goulbourn community and encapsulated what it meant to be a friend, neighbour, community volunteer and mentor.
But his passing is also a chance to reflect on the value of local media and journalism. John’s legacy is so strong and positive because his work enriched the lives of others. It is the unique duty of the local reporter to be all throughout his or her community, connecting residents, businesses, and causes that may otherwise never know of one another. John was exceptional in this job, and his work is an example for others to aspire to.
I hope that residents reading this note about John in the Manotick Messenger recognize that their readership of local media helps strengthen their communities. It helps support those who seek to make a living by bringing their communities to life on the pages of the paper, just as John did.
Consider what’s written on the other pages of this very paper: local stories that matter to our community. Tales of accomplishments by young people in our neighbourhoods, or issues that while serious don’t find coverage elsewhere, or even advertisements from local businesses, artisans, and tradespeople who are making our communities a better place.
Without support of residents, without the dedicated readership that is entirely vital to the success of local papers, they would fade away, and with it, we would lose a part of what makes our communities so vibrant. We owe it to newspaper men like John, and indeed we owe it to ourselves, to continue supporting the invaluable institution of local media. Many might not realize how valuable the Manotick Messenger is to our community. Jeff, Gary and their team work hard to publish a fantastic paper every two weeks. The Manotick Messenger embodies the very essence of “community”.
May our dear friend, John rest in peace. And may his cherished memory serve as a reminder about just how positively all our lives can be impacted by dedicated, local media.