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New road honours war hero

Margaret and Jim Summersides, joined by their children Rex and Sherry, took the first ceremonial drive along the street named after the World War II hero. JENNIFER CHORNLEY PHOTO

Summersides Boulevard opens

BY JENNIFER CHORNLEY
Special to the VOICE

The Town of Pelham held its official unveiling and ribbon-cutting last Monday for its latest new road, Summersides Boulevard. The road connects downtown Fonthill at Station Street to the Meridian Community Centre and Rice Road.

Summersides Boulevard is named after Pelham resident and World War II hero Jim Summersides.

He and his wife, Margaret, along with their two children, Rex and Sherry, were honoured to take the first drive on the street.

Summersides, born in 1924, joined the armed forces at 18, training in Orillia, ON, before deploying overseas and fighting in Italy and France.

In 1944, he volunteered for the First Special Service Force 1st Special Services Force, also known as the Devil’s Brigade or Black Devils, a joint Canadian-American commando unit that undertook some of the most dangerous and difficult missions.

The unit never had more than 2,400 members and had a casualty rate of 134 percent, with soldiers being wounded two and three times, but continuing to fight. About one third of its members were Canadians. Summersides said, “It isn’t a heavy honour I would have wanted to be placed upon my shoulders, but I am grateful. Even though I am one of the few who survived, I had a lot of friends who didn’t and we should always remember them.”

Summersides is a member of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 613 in Fonthill, and offers countless hours on the Legion Youth and Education program. Summersides is a highly-decorated veteran, receiving the Congressional Gold Medal from the United States Congress, the highest honour in the United States, 39/45 Star, Italy Star, Western Europe Star, Volunteer Service Medal, Canada 125th Medal, Bronze Star (USA Medal), and the Combat Infantryman’s Badge. He also received the 2011 Volunteer Peer Award with Town of Pelham, nominated by the Royal Canadian Legion.

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