Community rallies for long-time volunteer
Norfolk residents have stepped up to help Joey Bomberry (centre), a Simcoe native recently diagnosed with Stage 4 stomach cancer. Anne Coleman of Norfolk Office Supply, along with her dog, and Norfolk Volunteer Firefighters Association member Reg Ellis share a visit with Bomberry. JACOB ROBINSON/Simcoe Reformer
Norfolk residents are stepping forward to help popular Simcoe resident Joey Bomberry.
The 63-year-old has been a fixture in town for most of his life – making a major impact within the area’s sporting and firefighting community.
“He’s just like a brother,” said Anne Coleman, owner of Norfolk Office Supply.
“Joey has been the glue that’s held all of us together. If something is going on and Joe’s not there, you start looking for him, you wonder where he is.”
After Bomberry began to rapidly lose weight, doctors determined he had Stage 4 stomach cancer. To help cover medical expenses, a fundraiser was held Aug. 12 where an estimated 1,000 people showed up.
“He deserves some payback from the community,” said Reg Ellis, a member of the Simcoe Volunteer Firefighters Association.
“There’s not many people in the downtown community that don’t know him.”
Coleman fondly recalled the day she met Bomberry in the early 1970s. She was enjoying herself at the former Kinsmen Pool — until Bomberry showed up.
“Joey had this habit of going up on the three-metre board and doing cannonballs when I was in the vicinity to soak me,” Coleman smiled. “He used to just terrorize me, so I got to the point where I used to make him sit at the edge of the pool.”
She is quick to add: “He’s just a real sweet person.”
Bomberry is not afraid of putting in hard work. His days being involved with Simcoe Minor Hockey go back to the time of now NHL Hall of Fame defenceman Rob Blake.
“Joe was the goal judge, the stick boy, the guy at the arena that everybody knew and he knew everybody,” said Ric Boyko, owner of Boyko Source for Sports and a teammate of Blake’s growing up. “His social skills were as good as anybody’s and he loves being around people.”
Like he does with many downtown businesses, Bomberry stops in to catch up with Boyko once a week. As soon as he walks in the door, Boyko said he can’t help but have a smile on his face.
During the former “Sidewalk Days,” Bomberry always made sure to give the Source for Sports staff a hand.
“He was my security guard and there’s not a better person because Joe knew everybody and the trust factor with the guy is 100 per cent,” Boyko explained. “You would never, ever worry about that guy and as soon as you got past the so-called language barrier and once you got to know Joe and Joe’s language it was fairly easy to communicate. It’s easy to carry on a conversation with Joe Bomberry.”
Bomberry’s popularity goes beyond Norfolk. It’s not uncommon for him to go on calls with the Six Nations fire department where he’ll hand out water and do any job required.
Last Friday, Bomberry was once again visiting with his friends downtown. He stopped in at Coleman’s store where he had his photo taken.
“He’s everybody’s friend,” she said.
Anyone wishing to donate to Bomberry can do so at Norfolk Office Supply at 33 Norfolk St. N.