A chief of police volunteering at the front lines

” I saw the best of people there “

“When the Days Inn emptied, the residents were transferred to their living environment, that moment marked the end of my month-long stay as a service assistant. I was back home. Suddenly, I caught myself thinking about them. I looked at my spouse and I whispered to her: I am bored… I miss my residents…… ”, remembers emotionnaly the chief of police of Thérèse-De Blainville, used to similar situations because of his profession.

Francis Lanouette is one of the 509 citizens selected who responded to the call from the CISSS des Laurentides to relieve front line health care workers in the living environments where vulnerable clienteles reside. The chief will long remember COVID-19 not only for volunteering his time, but especially for having seen, heard and perceived the best of humans in this adventure.

“I was in contact with Dr. Éric Goyer [director of public health] and Alain Jutras [assistant director of administration of public health programs] as part of my work when I realized the scope of the needs of the CISSS, said the police director of Thérèse-De Blainville, Francis Lanouette. I felt the call, the need to contribute personally for a predetermined period. It didn’t take more than that, once my name was given, human resources validated my interest in investing myself with residents in need. “It was late May, early June when the curve of new cases was going down.

Mr. Lanouette immediately received specific six-day training, offered by a team of nurses, auxiliary nurses and beneficiary attendants (PAB). Given his professional experience in interventions with vulnerable people, he was reassured, because everything seemed to him very well organized. In the field, at the Day’s Inn in Blainville in the yellow and red zone, he was paired with a PAB, a retiree, a specialized educator, a teacher… all came to lend a hand a few weeks before him. “It was reassuring and impressive to see people from all fields coming together to get involved. Even if there were several of us, it is clear that help was lacking everywhere. Deep down, I told myself that we were not going to leave these seniors who built Quebec alone and in the midst of a crisis. Relief was also needed to support those still at the front lines for many months already.

I hope to have had influence as I had on my son, future nurse, who gave his time to the CISSS of Laval.

I saw human beauty, its best side, not only in these confident residents knowing their fate was in our hands, but in these workers deeply devoted to the service of others.

I received a lot of recognition for the help given. Residents appreciated the smallest gesture like a glass of water. It was also very interesting to listen to them tell each other, to see the extent of their experiences. It was extraordinary!

Thanks, were there all the time. Sometimes we gain a lot more from giving than receiving … At home, I discovered those ignored powers within me. If I chose the profession of police, I tell myself that it is undoubtedly because my heart is open to the call of my neighbor.

I perceived a real connection with the residents. I knew that I was living there a privileged moment. When I was playing cards with a lady, a banal pastime to be sure, I realized this timeshare was priceless. You experience her happiness. You live in the moment with her. I was sitting there and I felt like I was doing her good. At the same time, it did me good too.

As a citizen, I draw a very rich experience from my small participation. As chief of police, I would like to take advantage of it today and invite the public: If you have the right conditions to do so and are able to do so, contribute, volunteer! “