Loved ones mourn devoted volunteer struck, killed by vehicle downtown

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Besides spending time with her family, Brunelle’s other great passion was helping people.

That led her to volunteer for the last 10 years at the Crouch Neighbourhood Resource Centre on Hamilton Road, an organization that offers support to homeless people and families in need.

Tena Brunelle, 63, holds a certificate for a Teal Heart Award, a recognition she received from the Crouch Neighbourhood Resource Centre for her volunteer work helping Londoners in need.

“She struggled with mental health but she was a lovely person, and even though she struggled herself, she wanted to help others,” Wilson said of her mom.

“She worked with them for a long time trying to help others like herself, and she got great happiness from helping people.”

Brunelle’s volunteer work at the centre, where she did everything from meeting with clients to doing laundry and cooking meals, earned her a Teal Heart Award, given to those “who give all they have and give from the heart,” said Christine Wilson, a mental health worker with the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA).

“(Brunelle) did work where she was needed the most,” she said.

“She really understood what it meant to live with scarce resources, so she approached her volunteer work knowing how hard it is for some people who are living in poverty or don’t have secure housing. She approached her work with compassion and was non-judgmental.”

Brunelle’s daughter echoed that: “She didn’t have a lot to give herself but she would always share whatever little she had.”

A funeral service for Brunelle was to take place in London on Thursday. No charges had been laid as of Thursday in Brunelle’s fatal collision, which remained under investigation by police.

Brunelle’s death is the first pedestrian fatality in London in 2021 and the third such death in the last several weeks.

Joseph Robert Gordon Campbell, 58, died in hospital 10 days after he was hit at Horton and Wellington streets about 5:45 p.m. on Nov. 30. About a half-hour later the same day, a pedestrian, whose name wasn’t made public, died at the scene after being struck on Hamilton Road near Rectory Street.