Sisters share brother's life lessons

Staff Sergeant Peter Garvey carried himself with dignity and warmth. People who knew him praised his generous spirit and strong sense of ethics. He was a man who left an indeliable mark on his community.

“Pete was a friend to all,” said Bobbi Buchanan, Search and Rescue Saskatchewan Association of Volunteers (SARSAV) President, in a press release. “[He] had a way of motivating people that brought out the best in them.”

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Garvey passed away last year from brain cancer. His legacy is the impact he left in people’s lives. Two of those people are his sisters, Barb Porter and Linda Garvey. They honoured his memory with a book dedicated to advice and instructions pulled straight from the sergeant’s life.

“We’ve captured our brother in 5000 words,” Linda said. “[He] was a good, good man.

Garvey worked with the RCMP in Saskatchewan for decades, serving in several communities, including Yorkton for a period of time. Porter and Linda parsed through his many experiences to create “Life Lessons from a Red Serge,” a book that doles out advice on a myriad of issues. The sisters were in Yorkton last Saturday to promote the book and tell people about their brother’s accomplishments.

“We committed ourselves to pass on his values,” Porter said. “We wanted to capture [them] in a book.”

The book tackles 13 different topics ranging from humility to courage to humour, all pulled from Garvey’s life. Every chapter is filled with short sentences on how to live an upstanding life. Readers are meant to reflect upon and consider each lesson.

“The book is a positive, uplifting encouragement for people to do their best to be good people,” Porter said.

Originally, Linda and Porter wrote the book only for Garvey’s grandchildren, but they realized it could be an excellent fundraising opportunity for SARSAV.

SARSAV is an organizations of trained volunteers who assist in search and rescue operations. Garvey was deeply involved with SARSAV, helping the program grow and improve.

“Pete...was instrumental in SARSAV...developing capacity [for] the use of trained and certified civilian search dogs and handlers,” Buchanan said.

Linda and Porter realized how Garvey had impacted SARSAV and they wanted to contiune his legacy. They contacted the group and told them they wanted to use the book as a fundraiser. SARSAV agreed. All profits from the sale of “Red Serge” will be going to SARSAV.

“We...felt it was a wonderful opportunity to...bring attention [to] Search and Rescue, [which] is hugely important to our province,” Porter said. “For the most part, [they’re] unrecognized for the work they do.”

“It really shines a light on Search and Rescue,” Linda said.

The sisters love all the lessons in the book. In particular, Porter likes its teachings on grace and doing kind acts without expecting anything in return.

“That is a positive message that the world needs to hear,” she said.

The sisters have enjoyed spreading their brother’s lessons. They hope it can make a difference in people’s lives.

“This world is full of confusion and chaos and conflict,” Porter said. “Anything any of us can do to spread peace and positivity are really needed.”

“Life Lessons from a Red Serge” is currently available in Yorkton at Coles in the Parkland Mall.

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