Hundreds say good-bye to fallen miner

Brittany Boyd-Perry said her father, Steve Perry, was always there for her.

So, even though her heart was breaking, Boyd-Perry was there for her father, on the altar at Christ the King Church, leading the prayers for the faithful at Perry’s memorial mass.

At least 500 people attended the service for the veteran miner who was killed on the job Sunday while working at Coleman Mine.

The 47-year-old Perry had worked for Vale for 16 years.

Executives and members from the union to which Perry belonged, United Steelworkers Local 6500, attended the funeral en masse, forming an honour guard as Boyd-Perry and family members ascended the church stairs. Many Steelworkers wore black arm bands.

Top brass from Vale Ltd. attended, including John Pollesel, chief operating officer for Vale in Canada and the UK, and Kelly Strong, Vale’s vice-president of mining and milling, and head of Ontario operations.

Vale and USW Local 6500 have struck a joint committee to investigate Perry’s death.

Greater Sudbury Mayor Marianne Matichuk, MPs Claude Gravelle and Glenn Thibeault, and many community members attended.

But the focus was on Perry’s only child, Boyd-Perry and about 45 members of his family, many of whom travelled from Corner Brook, Nfld., where Perry was from.

Rev. Alex Saurianthadathil celebrated mass, saying everyone was there “for our friend, Steve.”

The tragic death of the the affable miner has shaken everyone, said the priest, and many may find it difficult to accept the reality of it in their moment of sadness.

People may feel “loss and helpless,” said the priest, “but we are not without help. We are not without hope.”

The greatest parting gifts that Perry’s family and friends could give him was their prayers said in the eucharist, said Saurianthadathil.

Several times, he directed his remarks at Boyd-Perry, saying she was not alone; that the hundreds of people attending the mass were there to support her.


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