4K Community Cup winner of the month! 🏆
By: Andie Bennett
Pre-pandemic, Kathleen Gagne estimated she would spend about 1-2 days a week volunteering, be it with 4Korners, with a mobile blood donor clinic, serving on the Lac des Deux Montagne Users' Committee or utilizing her seamstress abilities to help a neighbor. She is an asset to her community in Mirabel and is this month’s winner of the 4K Community Cup.
Kathleen and I spend the first few minutes of our phone call talking about her hobby farm. I learn that now there is just the one horse, some laying hens, chickens, sheep, four cats and a dog. Hearing the 4Korners volunteer speak about the animals she cares for, including many strays she has taken in for veterinary care and the horse she once sat and read to because he was extremely depressed, it is very clear that caring for other beings is simply part of her DNA. When she describes feeding and caring for squirrels and how to humanely trap house mice, I decide not to mention MY current system that is rather more final. Caring for animals, be they domesticated or otherwise is just ‘who we are’ Kathleen tells me. She can trace this instinct back to her mother teaching her and her sister to share what little they had if someone was in need.
Kathleen’s journey with 4Korners began 6 years ago when she was looking for somewhere to donate a collection of books she and her sister had long outgrown. Along with the books, Kathleen left her card with 4Korners and was called a month later and asked to start volunteering. Kathleen says it is one of the best things that could have happened. Recently retired, this gave her a way to continue to connect with people and to be of service, to seek out what needs to be done and do it. “Time is the only thing you really can’t buy,” she tells me, and goes on to talk about the importance of giving freely and checking your ego at the door. A self-described clown, Kathleen has been known to literally don a clown’s nose and go to work in a onesie fleece pyjama. She says she will do anything (with the exception of singing in public—that is a non-negotiable) to help the cause. She also has little time for those who see themselves above washing a floor or doing dishes. “I’ll make you a sandwich and send you on your way,” she says with a laugh (aside: this is now my favorite way to politely tell people where to go).
Although she says she is dealing well with the current isolation measures because she is by nature a solitary person, Kathleen clearly loves a hilarious turn of phrase and enjoys interacting with people. “I will talk to a tree stump,” is how she puts it. We are extremely grateful to have Kathleen as part of the 4Korners volunteer team and we can not wait to have her back as our very own ‘chief cook and bottle washer.’