Locality: Inspirational blogger Melissa Wormington


Melissa Wormington has a way with words that is honest and heartfelt. You feel like you know her, like you are walking through life with her.

I haven’t officially met Melissa, but her daughter Makenna is friends with Johnathan’s niece. I came face-to-face with Melissa for the first time shortly after her home was destroyed in the Goderich tornado on August 21, 2011, and heard part of her story first-hand that day, as she told it to John’s brother-in-law’s parents, her neighbours.

Melissa was at home making cookies that sunny summer afternoon, as her kids played nearby. Her husband, Jeff, a volunteer fireman, was at the fire hall, washing his pick-up truck. Suddenly, the power went out, and a few minutes later, her family safely in the storage room in the basement, Melissa heard rain and wind “pounding on the outside walls.” Above them, the noise of things breaking and crashing was deafening.

Thinking it was merely a quick and severe thunderstorm, Melissa didn’t stay put in the basement after Jeff decided to see what had happened outside.

I peeked around the top of the basement stairs into our front hall and came face to face with the front door to our house, the storm door, laying right there on the floor in front of me, as well as leaves, dirt, stones and just…debris. I could see the screen door outside on the porch. It was still pouring rain. I saw that our living room window was smashed.

Out on the street, they were astounded with the destruction from what they assumed was a “thunderstorm”.

Damage on West Street
Damage on West Street

Read what happened next on Melissa’s post Tornado – Sunday August 21: Part 1.

Her first-hand experience is raw and moving. She has since posted about the tornado’s effects on her family, her neighbours, and the rest of the town several times. If you want to gain an understanding about what it was like for tornado victims, Melissa’s blog is a fantastic place to start.

The Story of Us

This quote is from her post “Tornado in Goderich: Trauma

At my office we have lots of paperwork and reading material on trauma, surviving it and the effect it has on families. Some of it was centred around the events of September 11 2001. I had read it when I came across it, and have attended workshops in the past about the effects of trauma on families…most of those relating to the effects of witnessing or experiencing domestic or child abuse. But none of it really stuck with me over the years.

Until now.
Now I get it.

Melissa has been an inspiration for her fellow citizens, and has told her story several different times to journalists and filmmakers and others. Her story is also available in the locally-published compilation of stories, Not Like Any Other Sunday.

Thank you, Melissa, for your humility and honesty, for your transparency.


You can read all of Melissa’s posts about the Goderich tornado here.

You can also follow The Story of Us on Facebook.

If you know of a local person, business, event, etc. that you think deserves some publicity, I would love to feature them in my Locality series. Please comment, tweet me @sarahnadian, or email me at sarahnadian@gmail.com.

goderich hockeyville 2012

Why I’m Conflicted about Goderich’s bid for Hockeyville 2012

goderich hockeyville 2012

*Note: Since posting this (quick personal opinion) blog, this article about the state of affairs at Goderich’s Memorial Arena, which is run by the Maitland Recreation Centre (hence why Maitland is listed as the arena on the bid) was brought to my attention. I admit I was not aware of all of the issues at the arena, nor that the “old arena” would be receiving the money if Goderich wins. That clears up a couple of my concerns. Thank you, Goderich Hockeyville people, for correcting me.

As I say in my comment below, my main concern now is whether by winning, Goderich might prevent a more deserving community with an arena in even worse shape from getting necessary repairs. I tried to find out the condition of the arenas of other contenders, but wasn’t able to before getting this post out. I would welcome any information you could share. If it becomes clear that Goderich’s Memorial Arena is in a state that is comparable to, or worse off, than the other communities vying for this money, I would get behind this thing 150%.

Again: this is my opinion! Controversial thoughts are important… they help keep people honest and communities healthy. Please don’t take this the wrong way!


Normally, I am a community promoter. You should be able to tell that from my Locality series. I think that not enough people are excited about some of the great things in their own backyards.

I’m conflicted, however, about voting for my hometown to be Hockeyville* 2012.

What is Hockeyville? Here’s what the official rules have to say:


From a downtown community neighbourhood rink in Vancouver to a small community in New Brunswick, hockey communities exist all over this country, but which one has what it takes to be the best? Kraft Hockeyville 2012 (the   “Competition”),   presented by   Kraft   Canada Inc., the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, NHL Enterprises Canada, L.P., and the National Hockey League Players’   Association   (collectively,   the   “Sponsors”),   is   the   unique   and   exciting competition designed to find out which Canadian community stands above all the others. The Competition  will  seek  out  the  community  that  best  exemplifies Canada’s  spirit.  It’s  the  ultimate Canadian Competition!

The  winning  community  (the  “Grand  Prize  Winning  Community”)  will  win  the  experience  of  a lifetime, including:
● “Kraft  Hockeyville  2012”  title  and  trophy
● The opportunity to host an NHL® pre-season  hockey  game  (the  “Game”)
● $100,000 to be used for upgrades to the Home Arena that the winning Entrant nominates (as such terms are defined below)

In addition, the Grand Prize Winning Community will be featured on a CBC television broadcast related to the Game in the fall of 2012, at a date to be determined by the Sponsors in their sole discretion.

On Saturday night, after Hockey Night in Canada, my hometown of Goderich, Ontario was named one of 15 communities in the running for 2012’s Hockeyville title, which comes with all the advantages mentioned above.

Here are the things that I think are great about this competition:

  • It is building community spirit in a town that was recently struck a few blows with the loss of a couple of big employers, and August’s F3 tornado, which damaged much of our downtown core, resulted in 25 houses (this number is one that I haven’t been able to either substantiate or disprove. Perhaps I should walk around town and count.) being written off, and damaged many others.
  • Hosting an NHL pre-season game will introduce more people to a town that I think is pretty great, and further unite the people of the community that actually care about it

I am concerned about some other aspects, though.

What about the people of Goderich that still don’t have houses?

What about other Canadian communities that don’t have two functioning arenas, one of which was built within the last ten years?

Does our newest arena (the one that is nominated in the competition) really need $100,000 worth of upgrades? It’s not even 10 years old!

Are we using the whole “our town had a tornado” card as a sympathy bid? Is it appropriate if we are? There are communities in Canada that don’t have enough houses for their people, let alone two functioning arenas! (think Attawapiskat, for one)

While I do believe that some of the people of Goderich could use help getting their houses and lives back after the tornado, I have a hard time believing that getting money as an arena upgrade really helps the town.

I guess what I’m saying is that I am okay with Goderich winning the title of Hockeyville 2012, but I would ask whether we really are the most deserving of that $100,000. Is it fair for us to use our two arenas to bulk up our Hockeyville bid with special events when other towns may have only one functioning arena that may need some serious repair?

I have not done extensive research on the other 14 communities, so I don’t know what their needs are, but I would love to see Goderich named Hockeyville 2012, then donate the $100,000 to a community that is worse off than we are. It’s probably not possible: I assume the funds are specifically allocated to be used for the winning arena.

But wouldn’t that be fantastic? Wouldn’t that make you even prouder of Goderich?

As it stands, I am not sure I can vote with a  clear conscience.

*I am purposely leaving out “Kraft”, even though it is the official title, because it doesn’t matter to me or the average Goderich-ite which giant corporation is sponsoring this contest, and they don’t need the little guy to help their business by mentioning their brand.