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Ten Questions

Ten Questions with Chief John S. Gardiner, Brockville Police Service


As Brockville’s newest Police Chief, John Gardiner is the epitome of the honour and integrity that the Brockville Police Service has come to represent. To his new role, Gardiner, much like his predecessor, former police chief Adrian Geraghty, brings extensive on-the-job experience as well as his unwavering dedication to the BPS’ continued efforts to keep Brockville a safe place to live, work and play. Here, Brockville’s13th police chief reflects on fatherhood, food and Indiana Jones when he answers Ten Questions for the Observer.


Do you have a motto? And if you do what is it?

“Carpe Diem-Seize the Day”, because everything you want is just on the other side of fear. I believe that you can do or have whatever you want, if you’re willing to do whatever it takes to get it.

What book are you currently reading, or what book do you recommend?

“We are Soldiers Still” by General Hal Moore and Joseph Galloway. It is a book about leadership, but also teaches that when enough time has passed, even one time foes can become friends.

What characteristic do you most admire in others?


Integrity and those that treat others with respect.

What characteristic do you most deplore in others?


Selfishness and people with a sense of entitlement.

Who do you most admire, living or dead?

My father.  He has taught me wonderful life lessons, has given me his patience and his sense of humour and by example, showed me how to be a great father.

What do you do in your free time?

I spend time with my wife and family and fancy myself an amateur chef!

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I would want to be one of those people who “love” to exercise.

What talent would you most like to have?

I would like to be able to play the piano. I took lessons as a kid and I wish I’d stuck with it.



Who is your favorite hero of fiction?


“Indiana Jones” of course. He was every man and had his foibles, but he overcame adversity “snakes” and still got the job done. He had a great hat too!

What is your most treasured possession?

My collection of articles relating to my family history, books, swords, photos, military and police memorabilia. I have a strong sense of family history and I have tried to pass this onto my children.

Ten Questions with Maggie Wheeler

As the Communications Officer at Brockville General Hospital, Maggie Wheeler has a knack for telling stories. Whether she’s writing about a golf tournament for palliative care, a fundraiser for the cardiac care program, or a new piece of new equipment purchased to improve the quality of care at BGH, Wheeler composes her anecdotes with enthusiasm and precision. Her talent comes as no surprise when one discovers that the former corporate writer and Ottawa U graduate is in fact, a popular mystery writer and author of the acclaimed Farran Mackenzie Lost Villages mystery series.


Here Wheeler reflects on mother-daughter wisdom, “unkindness”, and the merits of Jessica Fletcher when she answers Ten Questions for the Observer.


Do you have a motto? And if you do what is it?


I have several. My favourite is “Life is meant to be enjoyed, not endured.” I find it important to remind myself (and others, occasionally) of this fact. Life is so busy and we need to slow down to enjoy the good things and people we have.

What book are you currently reading or what book do you recommend?

I have a stack of books beside my bed that are gifts waiting for me—all great choices and quite varied. The one on the top that I have just started is ‘Mother-Daughter Wisdom: Understanding the Crucial Link between Mothers, Daughters’, and ‘Health’ by Christiane Northrup. My sister gave it to me. She has a daughter and I have three.

What characteristic do you most admire in others?

Integrity, even when it’s tough (and it usually is).

What characteristic do you most deplore in others?

Unkindness. There is never a reason to be unkind.

Who do you most admire, living or dead?

My grandmother, Anna Gela Heipel. I lost her years ago and still miss her. She came over in 1929 from Germany, spoke little English, worked hard, raised a family and was the mainstay of our extended family. She is where I get my respect for integrity.

What do you do in your free time?

Free time? I’ve heard of that…Actually, this summer I will have some free time for the first time in years. I will be working on my gardens, reading that pile of books, and enjoying my back deck.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I would be a little more laid back. I’m often too hard on myself, setting the bar too high in what I do. I need to be kinder to myself and give myself more credit for what I do accomplish.

What talent would you most like to have?

The talent to draw and paint. I would love to be able to capture things and people I see.  I’m grateful to have the writing skills I do, and to be able to write books, but I wish I could sit and sketch, too.

Who is your favorite hero of fiction?

On TV, Jessica Fletcher. In books, Miss Marple. And, yes, I hope I turn out to be like both of them in my later years.

What is your most treasured possession?


This was hard to choose. My family is most important to me, but that isn’t really a “possession.” In terms of something I own, I’d have to say a first edition copy of ‘The Secret Garden’ by Frances Hodgson Burnett. The front is faded from so many readings, including the many times my mother read it to my sister and me. I have also read it to my children, and continue to find inspiration in its story of love, hope and rebirth.

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