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High schoolers help N.B. nursing home after theft

More than 50 high school students worked alongside experienced electricians on Thursday morning to help to keep a New Brunswick nursing home’s holiday tradition on schedule in the face of theft.

Copper wiring was stolen near Fredericton’s Pine Grove Nursing Home in late October, disconnecting electricity to the facility’s upcoming Festival of Lights fundraiser.

The annual event, which includes more than 130 community-sponsored Christmas trees, traditionally begins in December

Several people, including those with electrical expertise, have stepped up over the past week to volunteer their assistance.

“We’re actually quite surprised by the reaction we’ve got since going public with our problem,” said Jim Gorham, president of Pine Grove Nursing Home.

Gorham said the community’s desire to help was heartening to residents and staff at Pine Grove following the disappointment about the theft.

“They certainly can see the community involvement, and appreciate it,” said Gorham.

Joel Gallant teaches electrical wiring at Leo Hayes High School, and reached out to Joe Dobbelsteyn, a retired electrician and Pine Grover volunteer.

In a previous interview, Dobbelsteyn expressed concern about getting all the repairs finished in time for the event’s scheduled start.

Gallant offered the help of students in his class, in coordination with experienced electricians around the area.

“Students are divided up into groups and they’re working right alongside a Red Seal construction electrician,” said Gallant, with a flurry of activity happening around him Thursday. “It’s about as real as it gets.

“We’re making some modifications to (the electrical) system to get it all ship-shape again, replacing some broken things, and hoping to install things in such a way to prevent and deter this from happening again.”

Other businesses also donated necessary materials needed to complete the repairs.

“Seeing the opportunity to turn the page has definitely resonated with a lot of people,” said Gallant.

Pine Grove is still hoping to have their Festival of Lights start as usual on Dec. 1.

For more New Brunswick news visit our dedicated provincial page. Top Stories


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