Born in Montreal to recently arrived Irish immigrant parents, I lived in what was then a rural francophone community of 5000 about 40 km north of Montreal. I graduated high school in 1976 and completed Dawson College in 1979 with a diploma in sociology. During this time, I worked at the Chomedy Youth Clinic as a crisis worker. After graduating from Dawson, I moved to Toronto working in the retail electronics industry, eventually becoming a buyer and then national marketing manager for Wavelength Technology.
In 1990, needing to settle down and tired of travelling across the continent, I entered the Ontario public service as a correctional officer. While working, I returned to Humber College and completed a diploma in Recreation and Leadership that eventually led to my teaching at Sheridan College in the Community Justice program or 3 years as well as becoming a fitness appraiser for The Ontario Correctional College training new correctional officers in the area of fitness and functional performance. I’ve recently retired from the Ontario public service.
In my civilian life, I married in 1990 and moved to Georgetown where our family bought our first home. I became a member of a citizens liaison committee and became a vocal critic of irresponsible developers and continued the fight as a community organizer .
In 1996, myself and seven other concerned people realized there were a large number of working poor families living in our community that were not eating or feeding their children properly so we organized and opened the Georgetown Breadbasket Food Bank which services hundreds of families still today. In 1997, I became Chief Steward of my local union and represented my brothers and sisters at the labour board (this required a bit of an educational upgrade so I enrolled in the Alternative Dispute Resolution program at University of Toronto).
In 1999, I was trained by my union OPSEU to become an investigator for its Equity unit. I investigated abuses under the Ontario Human Rights code, and I continued to do this on an as needed basis for OPSEU across Ontario until 2018.
I opened and ran my own personal training studios in Rockwood in 2003 and offered rehabilitative physical training as well as strength conditioning or sports specific coaching till 2013.
In 2006, I became a board member of an environmental charity called WasteWise in Georgetown - this organization takes people’s used goods (books, old clothes or furniture) and resells them. The money we make maintains eight full-time employees and the profits go to pay for environmental causes. Some of the places we have donated thousands of dollars to include high-school and university scholarships in environmental studies,school tree planting, the Credit Valley Conservation Authority, the Bruce Trail organization, the CRC of Rockwood, and the Council of Canadians (to mention a few recipients).
We also reach out to guest speakers such as Maude Barlow and bring her in to educate people on water rights and environmental concerns. I still am a board member at WasteWise, working with a variety of organizations that are focused upon preserving our Earth.
I also was a Scout leader for some years, a program deliverer for The Duke of Edinburgh Awards program for youth and a co-chair for kids’ 1st program, raising money for breakfast programs for kids in Peel Region in conjunction with Peel Police, as well as raising money for women’s shelters and Sick Kids Hospital. I've always believed in making my community more viable through positive actions.