May 26, 2004 -
More than 1,700 students from across the City of Greater Sudbury jammed themselves into the Cambrian College gymnasium this past Friday to hear one of the most dynamic speakers in recent memory. George Chuvalo, former heavy weight boxing champion and the “greatest Canadian fighter of all time” spoke to a captivated audience of Grade 9 students on the perils of substance abuse and the "Fight Against Drugs.” Mr. Chuvalo is well versed on the subject, having lost three sons and his first wife|
to drug abuse and suicide. He now tours the country sharing stories of his sons’ struggles with drugs in the determined hope that what happened to his family won’t happen to anybody else’s family. “The Champ” also spoke quite passionately about peer pressure, the entertainment industry and the importance of family and education. “My sons dropped out of high school and couldn’t see a future, couldn’t see how they could make a respectable living for themselves or their families. I think this loss of hope made them more vulnerable to drugs,” stated a deeply saddened Chuvalo.
Sergeant Rob Thirkill, Youth Liaison Officer for the City of Greater Sudbury Police Service, noted that having Mr. Chuvalo speak to the young people of Sudbury so close to the end of the school year was very timely. “Soon the students will have to make choices about what they will do on their summer vacation. We want them to see first hand the tragic outcomes that can come from choices that involve drugs, alcohol and crime,” stated Thirkill.
The “Fight Against Drugs” presentation was sponsored by the Ontario Crime Control Commission in association with the Greater Sudbury Police Service’s in-school Empowered Students Partnership program (ESP). Co-hosting the event were the Honourable Rick Bartolucci, Minister of Northern Development and Mines and MPP for Sudbury, Mayor David Courtemanche and Chief of Police Ian Davison.