Monument of hero restored

With some investigating by historian Ken Johnson of Langley, B.C., initiative by dedicated cemetery leadhand Shawn Flint of Thunder Bay, Ont., elbow grease by Lakehead Monument Ltd. of Thunder Bay, and financial support from Mountain View Cemetery, which is owned by the city of Thunder Bay, the grave stone of 1936 Carnegie Medal awardee Dmetrie Benuik has gotten the T.L.C. that a hero deserves.

Restoration of the monument was completed in 2015 with the placement of one of the Hero Fund’s bronze markers that are made available to the families of deceased awardees.

The initiative was started in the summer of 2014 by Johnson, who was researching the event for which Benuik and a corescuer, Harold Clayton Gabourie were cited by the Commission.  He was able to locate Benuik’s grave in Mountain View Cemetery and then engaged the services of Flint, cemetery employee, who oversaw the restoration.  An interesting find along the way was Flint’s discovery of a Benuik relative, William Skrepichuk of Thunder Bay, whose father was Benuik’s cousin.  A historian like Johnson, Skrepichuk remembered visiting the grave with his father when he was young.

Benuik and Gabourie were cited by the Hero Fund for saving a coworker from suffocating in a nickel mine in Falconbridge, Ont., in early 1936.   Gabourie died a day after the rescue of its ill effects, and Benuik was killed in another mining accident later that year, just two weeks before the medals were awarded.