Revved up and dressed in red, Sharron Onciul was done sitting quietly while anti-mandates protests and blockades fuel division in the country her grandchildren are growing up in.
“We just thought something needed to be done,” said Onciul, 75-year-old retired teacher and member of the Ladysmith First United Church.
On Sunday, Onciul was the lead car in the Ladysmith Care-A-Van — a convoy created to spread kindness and a message of hope.
“It’s because of all the negative that’s going on. So many of us are feeling like ‘you don’t speak for us.’ You’re all over national television and you don’t speak for us,” said Onciul.
Onciul’s car and others decked out in balloons and signs rolled through Ladysmith on Sunday afternoon — winding by the local health centre and then past care homes, where residents were outside waving and greeting the goodwill.
“People are seeing the cars and reacting saying this is awesome and thumbs up and cheering,” said Jane Saunders, a participant and member of the Ladysmith First United Church.
The motorcade was first started by members of the Ladysmith First United Church in 2020, to show support to health care workers as restrictions led to anti-mask and anti-vaccination protests.
It had stopped for a while but returned because, according to First United’s Rev. Deb Hinksman, the congregation felt it was needed again.
“When it looked like people were being impeded going to get their appointments and they were impeded from going in to work and we’ve noticed that that has started a little bit again and everybody’s tired of this,” said Hinksman.
It is the ninth kindness caravan that Ladysmith residents have held.