You never know what you might find on a construction site and for one little creature, it was a simple act of kindness that embodies the Gordie Howe International Bridge project’s commitment to caring and community. In November 2021, when staff from Parsons, the Owner’s Engineer for the project, discovered a kitten near the US Port of Entry (POE), the team jumped into action forever changing the future for one very special cat.
Shannon Meeks, Construction Manager for Parsons, first thought he had found a “bright orange sponge” on the side of the road near the US POE. Discovering it was actually a tiny kitten, he contacted Emily Brown, Quality Manager at Parsons, for help. The cat was shivering and frail, and there was fear that he would not survive much longer outside. Brown quickly tucked him away in her jacket, picked up supplies at the local pet store and spent hours researching how to care for a young kitten. She eventually nursed him back to health, creating an unbreakable bond in the process. Ultimately, she named the kitten “Gordie” as a tribute to the Gordie Howe International Bridge project.
Gordie became a celebrity around the project site and office, a mascot representing the historic work taking place. People across the project heard his story and reached out to Brown asking if they could meet him, help look after him and even donate supplies and cat food. It gave Brown the opportunity to meet new people across the project and strengthen relationships with colleagues and partners, while providing a bit of ‘pet therapy’.
“Work can be stressful. For a lot of people, Gordie provided some laughs and stress relief,” Brown says. “Spending time with or even seeing a kitten can turn your whole day around.”
Gordie the Cat has proved to be a valuable member and uniting force for the team at the Gordie Howe International Bridge project.
Now, two years later, Gordie spends his days lounging with Brown and her two other feline friends, Narcissa and Lucius, who quickly took Gordie under their paws. For Brown, Gordie serves not only as another member of her family, but as a reminder of the magnitude of her work on the Gordie Howe International Bridge project.
“I’ve loved working on this project. I’ve loved the memories and the friends I’ve made,” Brown says. “The Gordie Howe International Bridge project brings so many benefits to the community. I’m grateful I will have Gordie to help me remember and look back on this incredible journey once the project is complete.”