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Lewis Wheelan commemorated in campaign

NEWS RELEASE SAULT STE. MARIE INNOVATION CENTRE ************************* Emergency Preparedness Campaign promotes Vulnerable Persons Registry and commemorates Lewis Wheelan SAULT STE. MARIE (August 6, 2013) - The Sault Ste.




Emergency Preparedness Campaign promotes Vulnerable Persons Registry and commemorates Lewis Wheelan

SAULT STE. MARIE (August 6, 2013) - The Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre’s (SSMIC) Vulnerable Persons Registry (VPR), in partnership with the Canadian Red Cross, today announced the launch of a community-wide campaign encouraging emergency preparedness and commemorating Lewis Wheelan.

Wheelan, born and raised in Sault Ste. Marie, survived a workplace accident that left 65 percent of his body damaged by burns and amputation of both legs and his right arm.

Lewis had moved to southern Ontario and passed away during the 2003 blackout after spending 22 hours without power and life-sustaining equipment.

Lewis’ story inspired the creation of the VPR, a locally developed, and internationally recognized award-winning registry that aims to improve the safety of those at greatest risk during emergencies.

Registering with the VPR allows local emergency service groups the ability to understand an individual’s unique circumstances before responding to an emergency situation.

Understanding key information, such as difficulty with mobility, vision, hearing, or other vulnerabilities, helps first responders prepare and potentially save lives.

Community awareness on how the VPR can help a friend, co-worker, or family member, is vital to the success of the registry.

During the month of August, the community is invited to participate in Remembering 10 Years in 10 Ways, a community challenge aimed at raising awareness of the VPR, promoting emergency preparedness, and remembering Lewis Wheelan on the 10th anniversary of his passing.

The public is asked to learn about the VPR, help promote the benefits of the VPR to their friends, co-workers and family members and/or get prepared for emergencies in 10 ways. 

Those who participate can share their 10 ways through:

• The VPR Facebook page

• The VPR Twitter account

• Mail – VPR Coordinator, 1520 Queen St. E Suite BT 100, Sault Ste. Marie, ON P6A2G4



“Although the Vulnerable Persons Registry did not exist to help Lewis, it now exists in our community because of his story. Commemorating Lewis on the 10th anniversary of his passing by encouraging the public to be prepared for emergencies seems only too fitting,” said Naomi Thibault, VPR coordinator. “During this important time, we encourage the community to come together and get involved in this exciting challenge.”

Those participating in the challenge have the chance to win two round trip flight vouchers for any Porter destination.

For the full list of ways you can participate, click here.

On Thursday, August 15, the community is invited to celebrate Lewis’ life at the Remembrance BBQ, hosted by the VPR, Canadian Red Cross, and the Wheelan family.

The BBQ is taking place at the Essar Convergence Centre on the campus of Algoma University from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Advanced RSVPs are appreciated. Please contact Naomi Thibault, VPR coordinator, at 705-942-6938, ext. 3041 or by e-mail

VPR information booths will be set up in the community at the following locations during the month of August. Learn more about the VPR or how to participate in the “Remembering 10 Years in 10 Ways” challenge:

• Station Mall (Sears Court) – August 8 (10 a.m. – 3 p.m.)

• Centennial Public Library – August 10 (10 a.m. – 3 p.m.), August 12 (10 a.m. – 4 p.m.), August 13 (10 a.m. – 4 p.m.)

• Walmart (Great Northern Rd. location) – August 11 (11 a.m. – 5 p.m.)

• Lewis Wheelan 10th Anniversary Remembrance BBQ (Essar Convergence Centre) – August 15 (11 a.m. – 2 p.m.)

• Canadian Tire – August 16 (10 a.m. – 4 p.m.), August 17 (11 a.m. – 4 p.m.)

• Churchill Branch Library – August 19 (1 p.m. – 6 p.m.), August 20 (1 p.m. – 6 p.m.)

• Romes Independent Grocer – August 21 (10 a.m. – 4 p.m.)

• Korah Branch Library – August 22 (11 a.m. – 5 p.m.), August 23 (1 p.m. – 5 p.m.)

• Shoppers Home Health Care – August 29 (10 a.m. – 2 p.m.) on Seniors' Day

To date, the VPR has helped over 200 members of the community.

SSMIC and Canadian Red Cross also recently announced a new partnership where both organizations will be working together to expand the program into other communities. 

For more information on the Remembering 10 Years in 10 Ways campaign, or to register with the VPR, visit here or make contact at 705-942-6938, ext. 3041 or by e-mail.