"Why Buy New When Used Will Do?"
STRIDE Assistance for the Disabled
Registered Charitable Business No. 11920 0632 RR000I

Passing of STRIDE Co-Founder Rev. Robert Percival “Poppa”

Posted Oct. 1st, 2009

Written on Behalf of the Board by President, Mary R. McDowell –

“In 1983, when tragedy and heartache struck a member of Bell St. United Church, it tore apart dreams and aspirations for Mark. Who would have thought in those early days, when sorrow and fear filled the hours, that there would emerge a blessing out of the brokenness? Who would have known then that the question from Mark himself, “Can you help this fellow I met who was in a diving accident?” would spawn a blessing?

But blessings did emerge and Poppa had an integral part in nurturing a seed of sorrow that transformed into a tree of hope, compassion, dedication, encouragement, enthusiasm, commitment, and love and whose branches stretch beyond this community.

STRIDE Assistance for the Disabled, Inc., a completely volunteer-operated, registered, non-profit, charitable organization, is almost 25 years old now and the help it has provided has touched thousands of people. As STRIDE stands on the threshold of the quarter of a century mark celebration, it approaches another milestone ….. that of providing a quarter of a million dollars in grants through our Grant Assistance Program,! Imagine that!

But we didn’t stop there. With Poppa’s contacts and influence within the community, we began researching the ways and means to develop a new venture.  In 1993, we opened STRIDE-Wheelchairs Plus Recycling Depot. Again, volunteer-operated, this “branch” of STRIDE reaches across the Ottawa Valley and into many countries around the world.

Poppa’s Christian beliefs, personality, and practices have helped to shape the character of the entity of STRIDE. At the same time, he showed through his actions that as fellow travelers on the journey of life, we must embrace all peoples in all places for each is a child of God, a God as diverse as the people.

A few years ago, when Poppa, also known in STRIDE as “The Rev.”, Mr. Percival, Bob, and “the guy in the office” began to experience failing health, we bestowed upon him the position as an “Honourary Lifetime Director of the Board”.  There is a key word in that title… “lifetime”.

Poppa’s influence upon us has lasted and will continue to last a “lifetime”. His physical presence has been so deeply missed at STRIDE activities but his name is always on our lips and the love that is felt for him is in the heart of each person who has worked side-by-side with him. We have had numerous calls and e-mails from clients and friends expressing their condolences. Indeed, he has left a treasury of memories for a “lifetime” …. memories which include …… pop can tabs (many of us still cannot pass by one that has been thrown on the ground without stopping to pick it up and put it in our pocket); paper towel target practice; lunch time solitaire competitions; etc., those being just some of the funny ones.  The list of the more serious “memories” is too long to read today and more personal so that will be left to you to compose from your own recall. 

Above all, his wonderful sense of humour and the memory of his laughter “keeps us smiling”!

STRIDE thanks you Poppa and we will miss you forever!!!”