I first met Wayne Bernard 15 years ago when I was working at Avonlea Village on Sundays doing weaving demos on a volunteer basis. It was Wayne who encouraged me to audition for a role at the Village. His encouragement helped me rediscover my love of theatre work. Watching Wayne interact with visitors to the Village was THE best lesson one could be taught about tourism. Each person was treated with respect and dignity. He shared stories about animals, about the Island, about life. His smile was the most genuine smile ever!
One bitterly cold night on the Cavendish shore, my sister and I came home to a door lock that was solidly frozen. No lock de-icer was going to help this problem. With winds howling and the beast that can be an Island winter night just waiting to freeze your fingers and toes, who is willing to come out to help? Yes, Wayne was there with all the tools needed. It was probably 20 minutes in this brutal cold that he worked on the door - and he kept telling us to wait in the car so we could stay warm.
In this day where the news is filled with reports of inappropriate behaviour, his hugs were heartfelt, safe and cozy. His laughter was never malicious. The love and care he showed his animals was so rewarded with the love and affection they gave back to him.
Tonight, look up to the heavens. That bright star you see in the December night sky over PEI is Wayne. Farewell, friend.