In Memory of Hazel
One person who has to be mentioned is Mrs. Hazel Breakey. No one in her family suffered from substance abuse, but she had the greatest respect for those who worked to overcome their addiction.
In 1997, Mr. Hugh Fraser was looking for a camp to bring clients to on weekends and during the summer. He found exactly the camp he was looking for, but he didn’t have enough funds to buy it. When talking to a friend about raising the funds, he was introduced to Mrs. Hazel Breakey and was told that she may be able to help with the purchasing of the camp. It was through Mrs. Breakey’s generous donation that the Fraser Recovery Program could acquire and renovate the camp at Lac Grosbois. She was ready to sell her home and move to a senior’s residence, but reconsidered when, in the middle of packed boxes, a client asked her why she was moving. The next day, she asked Mr. Fraser: “Is there any way I could be of use to you?”. Mr. Fraser found it funny because she had already paid for the camp. She said “one of your boys last night asked me a question. I thought about it and wrote down the pros and the cons. So, Mr. Fraser, again I ask you, can I be of use?”. Thankfully, she decided to stay put and the group support meetings were moved to her living room. They were held twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays and that lasted for 10 years. Her home was always considered a safe, secure and caring environment. She’d prepare meals for all the kids when they’d arrive. Vegetable and cheese trays would be put out and she said “if you’re dealing with the kids who have a substance abuse problem, the first thing you have to do Hugh, is feed their stomachs and make sure they’re full.” She organized Christmas and New Year's suppers so that they could be in an environment free of drugs and alcohol and would buy gifts for all members and staff. Her involvement was deep; she even volunteered to drive to pick up clients so that they could attend the meetings and drive them home afterwards. Many went to see her hours in advance just to talk, and some even stayed for extended periods. She was like a grandmother to most of them. It was 2 or 3 years before she would visit the camp. She sat by the window for the longest time and finally said that the place was magical and truly spiritual.
Mrs. Breakey was often known to say, "I believe in living in the here and now, and outside of my own family, the here and now is the FRP." She played a huge role in the Program’s early years and she is largely responsible for its success. Given her dedication and desire to see the FRP’s success continue long into the future, the Hazel Breakey Youth Foundation was created in 2014. The HBYF’s mission is primarily to promote and support, financially or by other means, the charitable activities undertaken by the Fraser Recovery Program.
This wise, warm-hearted woman who had a great sense of humour, humility and compassion is still fondly remembered by many to this day. Her generous contributions, financial and otherwise, enabled the FRP to flourish.