Saturday, 28 May 2016

They just don't come any better.

Dave Westfall

          Every evening when Miriam and I enjoy a glass of wine together, we raise a toast to someone who has left us smiling that day, or has inspired us, or has achieved success in fields of endeavour important to us, or has improved our community, or in one way or another has made a difference to our day.
          It occurred to me a few evenings ago that we toast Dave Westfall more often than anyone else.
          Let me tell you about Dave.

          Dave has dealt with cerebral palsy all his life. As he remarked to me just yesterday, “You deal with what you are given” – and so he has. I only got to know Dave last year, and it is my loss for not having known him earlier – for few finer men exist. I can truthfully say that I have never encountered Dave in a down moment; he is always supremely cheerful and full of vigour.
          Dave has led a productive life, until fairly recently working full time in the family insurance business in Kitchener. Along the way he has directed a youth camp, travelled in the Far East, designed the beautiful house (and extensive gardens) at SpruceHaven which he shares with sister Sandy, and her husband Jamie, and has contributed in countless ways to the betterment of all who know him, and has been generous philanthropically.
          He considers himself privileged to have served as President of the Insurance Brokers of Waterloo Region and as Congregational Chairman for Kitchener’s Historic St. Paul’s Lutheran Church. He is a recipient of the Kitchener-Waterloo YMCA’s Meritorious Service Award and Canada’s Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.
          Where Dave and I most closely align is as advocates for the environment. He is committed to the preservation and restoration of habitat for wild creatures – fellow travellers on this precious planet that serves as home for all of us. It has been my good fortune that Dave values my lifelong interest in and knowledge of birds and their world, and has entrusted to me the enhancement of their habitat and the initiation of scientific surveys such as bird banding, which even in this day of technological wizardry still contributes volumes of important data to biologists trying to reverse the catastrophic declines in avian populations. The best is yet to come!
          As Dave gets older his mobility and flexibility decline somewhat, as it does indeed for all of us, but his sheer enjoyment when I tell him about species I have discovered on his property, is no less ebullient and sincere than if he could get out and observe them for himself. I cherish my licence to wander SpruceHaven at will, but I cherish no less the pure joy in seeing Dave’s enthusiastic reaction to the news I have for him about recent sightings, or suggestions that I have for new projects. I am not so sure that giving good news to Dave is not the best thing of all.

          In life, if you are lucky, you meet people who make a difference, people who leave their mark on you, people who attach themselves to your psyche, people who tattoo their imprint on your brain. For me, Dave Westfall is such a person. I can state unabashedly that I am filled with admiration and respect (dare I say love?) for this truly decent human being, a person who in the nine months or so that I have known him, has contributed so much to me.
          I salute you Dave. Thanks for the privilege 


  1. I'll raise a glass to Dave later tonight too!

  2. Great post to honour such a man as Dave.
    It was a real pleasure to read it and discover his personality through your feelings.
    And yes, love is a word to behold dearly for it is the cement of our earthly experience :)
    Take good care, and warm hugs to share with Miriam

  3. Impressive story, it's good to have such a positive man in your live.
    Greetings Tinie

  4. Cheers Dave you sound an amazing man. We all take health for granted until we realise there are people who manage so well with disabilities be they great or small! Glad to hear you enjoy life and long may you continue to do so. Diane

  5. Hi David, I intend to raise a glass to this fine man myself this evening, what a friend you have made in a man who deals with disability in such a way. All the best to you Dave and good luck for the future.
    Regards John

  6. Beautifully written.
    We meet people for a reason, sometimes that reason isn't known for a very long time.
    Good luck to Dave.

  7. Thank you, David for sharing about Dave and what a great man he is. We all need such man or person in our life to be a role model to us.

  8. Hi David,
    This is really great that you give a post to Dave commemorating him. When I read how he dealt with his paralysis, he has been a very postief man who brought joy to many people.

    I will soon have to work but when I get home late from work tonight I'll take a glass and drink it in honor of Dave.

    You know David, you yourself also about someone who is always cheerful and brings joy to many people.

    Kind regards, Helma

  9. You are so Lucky to have such a great friend David. Everybody should meet such wonderful people and the world would be a better place. And I agree with Helma, that you are Always positive and cheerful, it is a privalidge to know you.
    Take care,

  10. I really do love the custom you and Miriam have with your happy hour toast. And your good friend David is worthy of being thus honored. .thank you for sharing his inspiring story. You are lucky to have him in your life ... And I know he would say the same about you ... A true friendship.

  11. Dearest David,
    Yes, it is above all the upbeat and positivity that radiates off such a person. Like Dave, we too have met people all over the world, like an ex polio sufferer in Australia who had to walk on crutches but he was hard to keep pace with. Or another ex polio sufferer in Indonesia who accomplished such great things for others! On and on and it only makes us feel guilty if we 'dare' to complain on a rainy day or when we're a bit under the weather.
    But meeting such people has a special purpose and it sure leaves a lasting imprint in our hearts!
    We're all blessed for encountering such great role models, true heroes of this world that make the very best of what is given to them!
    Hugs and happy birding,

  12. This was so beautifully written, and wonderful to read, I'm pleased you shared this very special man's story with us.
    I too raise a glass to him.

    All the best Jan

  13. You write beautifully about Dave. I don't know him, but it sounds he is a very special man. He now has a admirer in Finland <3.

  14. Lovely post and tribute to your friend Dave! Have a happy day and week ahead.

  15. David sounds like an exceptional and terrific human being. After reading your glowing account of this wonderful man, I salute him also. Thank you for introducing us to him and he now has an admirer in Virginia :)

  16. OH gee David, many thanks for your comment about my sparrowhawk!
    I can't understand the stupidity of many people to feel "sorry" for a prey when they themselves feed on animals or PLANTS! Yes, they too are alive!!!
    For heaven's sake, this is how this planet functions!!!!
    Take good care huge hugs to share with lady Miriam :)