The annual Gaëtan Serré Butterfly Release finally returned on Wednesday, July 13th, this time at the Sturgeon River House Museum. This 3rd event was postponed due to COVID restrictions but has now come back to stay. Over 100 people of all ages attended to release a butterfly in memory of a loved one, and over $2,000 was raised in support of the Horizon Women’s Shelter in Sturgeon Falls.
The event began at 6 pm with music performed by Sophie-Anne Levac and Emma Rivet, who sang until speeches started at 6:45 pm. Linda Lafantaisie, Executive Director of the Horizon Centre, opened by thanking attendees, volunteers and the Serré family for helping make the event happen. She was followed be Lynne Gervais, who recited a poem her father Gaëtan had written. The poem’s message that death is not the end, that dying means being born into eternity, was touching considering the event was meant to remember loved ones who have passed. Finally, Marc Serré also took the stage to talk about the importance of helping others, something his late father, a founding member of Horizon and a prominent local volunteer, epitomized.
After the speeches, Lafantaisie took the microphone to recite a poem while butterflies were being handed out to the crowd. The butterflies were kept dormant in small envelope packets and would awaken once they were warm enough. Once all the purchased ones were distributed, volunteers gave the remainder to children so they could also participate. Around 7 pm, the butterflies were let loose. It took a moment for some to fully wake up, as they clung to people’s hands or rested on the grass before taking flight. The excitement at seeing them up close was clearly visible on the kids’ faces – not to mention many adults.
Lafantaisie says that they managed to sell over 200 of the 300 butterflies ordered for the event. Despite not being able to sell them all, she was pleased with the turnout and so was the Serré family. “I’m so appreciative for everyone that supported this fundraising event,” says Lafantaisie, who is going to use the funds to help women and families at the Horizon Centre. The Serré family says they are all looking forward to doing it again next year in memory of Gaëtan.