On October 16, Russell Township held the opening ceremony for the Jonathan Pitre Memorial Park. The park memorializes Jonathan Pitre, a young man who worked tirelessly to bring attention to a rare skin disease called epidermolysis bullosa (EB). He is nicknamed the Butterfly Child, as the disease is said to make the skin as fragile as a butterfly’s wing, and the park sports butterfly motifs all around.
“This park, dedicated to Jonathan, is a testament to his ability to bring people together,” said Mayor Pierre Leroux. “This play area is Russell Township’s first fully inclusive municipal park, and we could not think of a better way to remember Jonathan.”
MP Francis Drouin attended to represent the federal government, which provided a grant for nearly $200,000 for the park. He took the podium to say a few words about Pitre and his legacy.
“[Jonathan] knew hockey like no one ever knew hockey. I didn’t know Jonathan Pitre until I saw him in Embrun, and he started talking about hockey. I wouldn’t challenge him on it, hew knew everything,” said Drouin. “He advocated for EB, which is a terrible disease, and at such a young age, the selflessness that he portrayed is a testament to what a community really is. I am so happy that this park is being named Jonathan Pitre Park, because it will give an opportunity for me to transmit to my son the values that Jonathan Pitre transmitted to all of us.”
Finally Tina Boileau, Jonathan’s mother, stepped up to speak a few words.
“It takes a village to raise children,” said Tina. “To see everybody here, this is exactly what a village is all about. Hearing these children laugh, this is exactly what Jonathan would want.”