Gerry Byrne is our volunteer Soup Kitchen Coordinator. He’s been here as long as anyone can remember, coming on board about 15 years ago when St. Vincent Place first opened.
In addition to his coordinating soup kitchen teams, Gerry himself serves Wednesday dinners on the Knights of Columbus team and frequently makes the soup for the Saturday lunches, but “takes an abiding interest in all aspects of the operation” according to Board of Directors member Mike Barker, who has worked here with Gerry for many years.
Gerry also works hard to help out in the food bank, serving on a food bank team with his wife Evelyn and helps stock the food bank. He and his friends regularly bag the flour, coffee, oatmeal, and other bulk goods used in the food bank.
“You will see Gerry here most days attending to these tasks,” said Fran Barker, the food bank coordinator. “He is an extremely dedicated member of the St. Vincent family! When he says he will do something, you know it will be done and done right.”
According to Mike, “only serious illness and the occasional trip back to Ireland has temporarily interrupted his many years of service.”
Fran believes that Gerry’s affiliation with St. Vincent de Paul goes all the way back to Ireland, and that he “truly tries to walk the walk.” Indeed, as Mike points out, Gerry is an active member and past president of the Mother Theresa Conference of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul here in the Sault. The Conference focuses its volunteering and fundraising efforts on helping out St. Vincent Place.
But as Fran says, “remember, behind every good man is a good woman – that would be his wife and partner Evelyn Byrne!” We’re sure that Gerry would be quick to credit Evelyn for being an amazing volunteer here at St. Vincent Place as well.
As for Gerry, Mike summed him up in just a few words: “Modest, totally dedicated, occasionally brusque, a great storyteller. This guy could be volunteer of the century.”