BRUNO, Sask. — A chilly day could not quell the warmth and appreciation that the town of Bruno holds for Rev. Joe Ackerman, OSB. In a public ceremony Oct. 12, the name of the town’s new playground was officially revealed — Fr. Joe Park — much to the surprise of the 93-year-old Ackerman.
“Victor Granger (chair of the St. Bruno Parish Council) came and picked me up, saying, ‘It’s been a while since you’ve been out and around the town. Let’s go see what’s new,’ ” said Ackerman.
Stopping at the new playground, Granger suggested they get out and attend the naming ceremony that was about to take place. After a brief address by Bruno Mayor Dale Glessman and words of congratulations from MP Kelly Block on the completion of Bruno’s “Canada 150” project , the sign bearing the new park’s name was unveiled. Rev. Pius Schroh, current pastor of St. Bruno Parish, and Ackerman then blessed the park.
“I was completely dumbfounded. My mouth was opened wide enough to drive a tractor in,” commented Ackerman when asked about his reaction to seeing the park’s name. “I was surprised, surprised, surprised. There are so many people that have spent their whole lives here in Bruno, and I’ve only been in Bruno for 19 years.”
Ackerman served as pastor of St. Bruno Parish from 1998 until retiring last year. Throughout his time in Bruno, he was always involved in community activities and gatherings, whether they were at the church, school, rink or community hall.
“This will be a great remembrance of who Father Joe is and all he has done for our town,” commented Bruno resident Michele Hoppe. “He gathered everyone, no matter who you were, to be a part of everything. Especially the little ones.”
The name for the new playground was the suggestion of 13-year-old Éowyn Riley, who submitted the name as a part of a summer “name the park” contest held by the town. She didn’t know that her suggestion had been selected until she was called from the crowd by Glessman to unveil the sign.
“When I think of Bruno, that’s who I think of,” said Riley. “Father Joe is a very fun-loving guy, and always wants other people to enjoy themselves, so I felt that naming a community park after him would be a good choice.”