"Paula, we are so pleased with the bronze portrait sculpture of my father you created. As you saw at the unveiling, the bronze portrait took everyone's breath away! Anyone who knew George loved it because you captured him so beautifully in every detail."
~ Doug Bergeron – Son of George Bergeron and founder and CEO of VeriFone Systems, Inc.
Slater was awarded the great honor of sculpting the life size, full figure portrait of George Bergeron seated on a motorized scooter. Mr. Bergeron was beloved by many and was the head of the MS Society in Windsor, Canada. The beautifully finished bronze portrait was installed in the George Bergeron Healing Garden located on the beautiful Riverfront Trail in Windsor.
Mr. Bergeron developed MS when he was 34 years of age and was a great proponent of staying active and mobile. He was a tremendous inspiration who touched so many lives with his personal courage and positive outlook.
Phase I Paula Slater & Doug Bergeron
This is a perfect picture to explain how “a thought/idea” can become a “reality”!
The Winsor MS Chapter wanted to do something special in memory of George Bergeron and to give many thanks to Doug & Sandra Bergeron for their most generous gift of One Million Dollars to the MS Society of Canada (50% for Research & 50% to be used by the Windsor-Essex Chapter for special programs), over a 10 year period. This is when the idea of a “Healing Garden” was thought to be appropriate since George loved gardening!
We had tossed the idea around with George Bergeron’s wife, Eleanor and their son Doug Bergeron and they loved it! Doug had then contacted us about wanting to donate to the garden, a life-size bronze sculpture of his Dad, to be a surprise for his Mom. THAT’S when the fun began!
Doug interviewed many artists and knew as soon as he saw Paula Slater’s work and her personal feelings about MS, that she was the one for the job. Paula was given a series of photographs of George and was visited by Doug & Sandra on occasion to peruse the progress of the sculpture.
Still, no one knew about this but Doug’s siblings and the Board of Directors of the chapter. The secret was kept extremely well by the few who knew about it! When the sculpture was unveiling Doug’s mother was reduced to tears and so were the many guests at this momentous occasion.
In summary, Doug had a dream & Paula made it happen! Together they made our chapter’s “Healing Garden” project that much more special not to just us, but to the community at large!
Slater received numerous compliments from the Bergeron family and friends saying that the bronze portrait looked exactly like George–that she had not only captured his warm character but also his wonderful spirit. Over 150 people attended the dedication ceremony and gathered around the portrait sculpture after the unveiling.