I am humbled to be standing here following in the footsteps of all those who have received this prestigious award.
There are just too many people to thank, who have helped me over the last 50 plus years in my legal career. I want to thank, Vim Kochhar and his selection committee, for choosing to honour me tonight as a King Clancy Recipient.
To receive an honour in his name like this is one of the highlights of my legal career.
To be recognized as the first personal injury lawyer to receive this honour makes the occasion particularly special.
I hope it will inspire other lawyers and especially personal injury lawyers that when a client retains you, you have a moral obligation to not only handle their legal matters but to assist them in overcoming or coping with hardships encountered in their everyday lives after their cases are completed.
I want to recognize my wife for her contribution and patience in standing by me with unwavering support.
Next, I want to acknowledge my son and law partner, Charles, who has for the last 15 years carried on my philosophy of treating each and every client as a valued member of our firm's family. This philosophy is largely the reason that our firm has been voted one of the Top 10 Personal Injury Law Firms in Canada. This past year, I am proud to state that he also was elected the President of the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association.
A special thanks to our in-house medical consultant, Dianne Henderson. Her enthusiasm and ethics are contagious to every member of our firm. Thank you, Di; I couldn't do it without you.
Most of all, I want to thank my thousands of clients
Some of whom are here tonight -- for having the trust and confidence in allowing me to not only represent them in their legal matters, but in allowing me into their lives as a friend.
My inspiration for the Paralympics came from my good friend, Jeff Tiessen.
I met Jeff in 1988 and as many of you know, Jeff is a double arm amputee who lost both of his arms in a tobogganing accident when he was only eleven. Jeff overcame his disability and become an outstanding paralympian participating in three Paralympic games; winning three medals. In fact, one of his records still stands today.
I have to share a personal story with you about Jeff when we were at the Atlanta Paralympic games in 1996.
It was an early evening after the games and we were lounging around the hotel pool when Jeff woke me up from my pool-side slumber and said, "Bernie, I'll race you a lap in the pool for beers." Being very competitive and always game for a sure thing, I accepted his challenge. However since he didn't have arms and since unbeknownst to him, I had been on my high school swim team, I offered to spot him a time handicap. He said, "No, let's race equal." So off we went, his wife Brenda counting "on your mark, set go". Splash into the pool, half way up, I turned to see where he was. No sign of Jeff. As I was about to touch the end of the pool, fully confident I had won, there was Jeff patiently sitting on the side. He had swum most of the length of the pool underwater. Boy, did I learn my lesson. Never challenge a paralympian. They happen to be among the best athletes in the world!
To all the paralympians in the room tonight, you truly are amazing. God bless you for all that you do. You are an inspiration to all of us.
Acceptance Speech, CFPDP's 30th Great Valentine Gala, February 8, 2014
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THE KING CLANCY AWARD was established in November, 1986 by the Canadian Foundation for Physically Disabled Persons to commemorate the contributions of King Clancy as an inspirational humanitarian. The Award is presented to distinguished Canadians who have made significant contributions in assisting disabled citizens to achieve a more rewarding lifestyle.www.gluckstein.com/blog/bernard-gluckstein-to-receive-prestigious-king-clancy-award