Another $30,000 needed for work to start on proposed Bravery Park

February 16, 2018   ·   0 Comments

By Mike Pickford

The push to give Orangeville Canada’s first Bravery Park needs one last helping hand from the community to get it over the line.

Shannon McGrady, who has spearheaded the project alongside her mother Valerie McGrady since 2010, was at Town Council on Monday (Feb. 12) to discuss the first of four planned phases of development for the project. With a permanent location secured on the grounds beside the Alder Recreation Centre, Ms. McGrady said she needs around $30,000 before work can begin in the spring.

“We are here this evening because we need our community’s help,” Shannon told Council. “Bravery Park is an initiative very, very close to our hearts and it’s one we’d like to see through (in Orangeville), not for ourselves, but for this community. We want to ensure that we, as Canadians, have a place where we can be educated on and thinking about soldiers throughout the year.”

A concept now eight years in the making, Bravery Park is being designed for local residents to use as a “place of reflection” to honour the bravery, achievements and sacrifices of members of the Canadian military. For Shannon and Valerie, it will serve as a living testament to Cpl. Matthew McCully, an Orangeville native who was killed by a roadside bomb near a small village outside Kandahar City, Afghanistan on May 25, 2007. A brother to Shannon and son to Valerie, Cpl. McCully was a member of Canada’s elite Operation and Mentoring Liaison Team (OMLT) that trained Afghani soldiers.

Having raised over $100,000 to date, Shannon revealed the committee was now less than $80,000 away from being able to fund all four portions of the project. In its first, initial phase Bravery Park will boast a seven-foot bronze monument which displays a Canadian soldier kneeling beside two Afghani children to receive a gift of a butterfly. Shannon says the statue, made possible by a $45,000 grant from Veterans Affairs, will serve as a symbol of peace and hope. She revealed that a large portion of the $30,000 the committee is seeking will go towards designing and constructing a base for the monument.

Also included in this first phase is a memorial stone, which, thanks to a partnership struck up with Orangeville’s Communities in Bloom committee, will be surrounded by a garden of poppies. Shannon revealed the organization already has everything in place and is hoping to plant the poppies in the spring.

Future phases of the project will include the construction of a playground, made possible by a $26,000 donation from the Amaranth Lions Club and the design of a medicine wheel, worked on in partnership with the Dufferin County Cultural Resource Circle. Alongside their goal to raise hope and promote peace, the Bravery Park committee is also hoping to bring awareness to the devastating effects post-traumatic stress disorder has on Canadian veterans. To date, 179 soldiers still considered in active duty have committed suicide after spending time overseas, while more than 2,250 veterans are currently living on the streets, their lives falling apart after returning home from active combat.

“What a noble project this is. I have watched this thing grow from the very beginning, what an incredible job you have done,” Mayor Jeremy Williams told both Shannon and Valerie, who was also in attendance at Monday’s meeting.

The Bravery Park committee has launched a GoFundMe page in an attempt to secure the money it needs to complete phase one. So far they have managed to raise $6,593 of their $30,000 goal. To donate, visit

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