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Remembering great community volunteer Danny McCann

Danny McCann of the Gravels Development Committee is seen in this undated file photo addressing the Stephenville Rotary Club. Residents of Port au Port West-Aguathuna-Felix Cove are remembering McCann, who died on Wednesday, for his community dedication.
Danny McCann of the Gravels Development Committee is seen in this undated file photo addressing the Stephenville Rotary Club. Residents of Port au Port West-Aguathuna-Felix Cove are remembering McCann, who died on Wednesday, for his community dedication.

“Would you like to buy a ticket sir?”

You didn’t have to turn around. It was a familiar plea and you knew who was making it.

Before spinning around, a smile came to your face and you slid your hand into your pocket to look for money to purchase a ticket — or likely tickets.

That’s because he was a tough guy to turn down. This man in the wheelchair whose dedication to community, you knew, was even larger and brighter than some of the colourful jackets he wore.

You knew the money was going toward a good cause, such as restoration of Our Lady of Mercy Church or possibly toward development of the Gravels Trail.

Danny McCann of Port au Port West died on Wednesday, and a town is remembering him as a person whose generosity had no bounds when it came to community.

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Mayor Cathy Whitehead of Port au Port West-Aguathuna-Felix Cove said she has known McCann for more than 25 years and for every one of those years he’s been a large part of the community and what drives it.

She said he will no doubt be sorely missed.

Whitehead said it’s staggering to think of the amount of time he spent at getting the Gravels Trail developed into the beautiful facility it is today.

“What a beautiful legacy to leave,” she said.

A Facebook post from the town said Danny, whose full life spanned 65 years, loved his wife Mary and family, serving his community, volunteering his time in support of community projects and living life to the fullest despite his physical challenges.

Born and raised in Port au Port, the constant values that graced Danny’s life were unfailing courtesy toward others and a willingness to extend a helping hand to anyone who needed it.

McCann was remembered for his pride in his grandchildren, who were invariably greeted with a warm smile and a gentle hug, his entrepreneurial spirit that allowed him to own and operate a successful small business (D&M Variety), developing the Gravels Walking Trail — a community walking trail enjoyed by hundreds of users daily.

Also, his generosity in the creation of the Gravels Development Group that provided volunteer stewardship of the Gravels Walking Trail, Rest Stop and Our Lady of Mercy Complex for more than 12 years.

Remembered is his willingness during his 32 years as town clerk to serve his community and do honest work, no matter how humble, a love of community that was so strong that he dedicated much of his own life and his family’s to make Port au Port a better place to live.

McCann took pleasure in even the simplest family gatherings. Founding the annual Grand Ole’ Port au Port Opry and the annual Christmas Concert were two of his great joys.

His large presence at the Port au Port Agricultural Fall Fair will also be missed.

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