Wondrous Life – June 2021: Stand Tall – a story about Betty Ann Villeneuve


“Part of the process of interviewing people for stories begins with our childhood thoughts about our position and beliefs. It is interesting to note how the perspective of a ten-year-old could thus orient the course of his life towards service to others. In this, Betty Ann and I could be sisters ”.

Stand straight

For the ancient Celts, the daisy is a symbol of innocence and purity. Synonymous with spring and found everywhere, we could liken a daisy to a slender girl with long fine hair. In a generational struggle against bullying, daisies bear witness, bringing both light and life to dark corners and where countless mentors move forward and internalize. Stoic in appearance, their smiling faces belied the truth and quiet strength of their predecessors.

In a house that only exists in memory of her mother’s kitchen table, Betty Ann Villeneuve’s youthful spirit flows from a garland of undying love. Her mother Carol was a fierce go-getter from the small town of Sullivan, Quebec, where she served in the Canadian Air Force as a radar specialist during the Cold War.

Betty Ann’s father, Claude, was from Dalkeith, Ontario. As a young father, he taught his children that their time was valuable, while living by his motto “You are only as good as your handshake”. This honest wisdom may be scarce today, but as the family worked together in their home grocery delivery business, the cornerstone of strong family bonds was impenetrable.

At almost 15 years old, Betty Ann joined the Sea Cadets. Excellent in first aid, her superiors recognized an educational leader and suggested that she pursue a career in nursing. At 19, Betty Ann applied to the Licensed Practical Nurse program at Algonquin College in Ottawa.

While raising her children, Betty Ann worked for the Ottawa Community Nursing Registry when she unexpectedly received a leaflet in the mail offering taekwondo lessons for children with flexible hours. She had just turned 35, so the idea of ​​keeping everyone active was simple. With advice from her mother to believe in her own power, Betty Ann set her intentions to flourish.

Upon entering her first Dojang, Betty Ann was struck by the familiar themes of a life ago. As a newcomer to the martial arts, she took the student oath to heart. The principles of Taekwondo include the practice of courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control, indomitable spirit and respect for its instructors and elders, never to abuse Taekwondo and ” be a champion of freedom and justice while building a peaceful world.

The coordination of the social skills needed to wrap a learning path is lifelong. Feeling that her teachers had their hearts in the right place, Betty Ann approached her own students with courage and respect. In the ages 4 to 61, a student’s ability to gain a student’s trust was learned by letting them know they were not alone.

With light teasing and gentle smiles, Betty Ann has taught her children to be grateful for their parents’ sacrifices.

Guided by the support of her first taekwondo instructors in Ottawa, Betty Ann returned to Cornwall and transformed her Hoople Avenue garage into her own Dojang. She named her school Freedom Taekwondo because it would symbolize that one can be free from fear and stand up straight. Even the pet, a Norwegian Behund, was renamed Freedom. In addition to the ideals and values ​​of her parents, Betty Ann set out to change lives. https://www.facebook.com/CornwallFreedomTKD

Chances are, if you’ve had school-aged kids, they’ve participated in Taekwon-Do. Everywhere you turn, it’s inevitable that someone knows or has gone to school with Betty Ann. Maybe you were an Eleventh Street neighbor or a grandmother who felt her confidence and soul renew itself by acquiring a black belt under her tutelage. Among the hundreds of young adults touched by Betty Ann’s advice today, the real honors come from the benevolence of the good seed and full sun.

While Betty Ann’s dad never had the chance to see her footprints scatter throughout her heart, the warmth and love of her energy has surely been felt over the years. Because when he died, Carol found a night job, making tape on Rosemount Avenue with her sister Maggie and her best friend Doreen. Thick as thieves, the women were known for their great work ethic, giggles and weekend game nights in a tradition that continued into the second and third generations. And it gives us peace that while we can’t undo what came before, people like Betty Ann Villeneuve are in the garden, allowing children young and old to revel in their weirdness and believe again. in themselves.Copyright © April 2021 – I would like to have comments on my stories. Please email me at [email protected]

  • Lisa is a member of the Cornwall Writer Society, a group that meets at the Cornwall Public Library on the 3rd Monday of each month from 6:15 to 8:15 p.m. library, please call 613-932-4796. To reach Lisa, send an email to [email protected]

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