Clean Water Works employees rally around colleague with surprise drive-by parade

Twenty company trucks and vehicles drive to Casselman to show support for cancer-fighting co-worker
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Some companies send sympathy cards. Others send flowers. But a special few – including Clean Water Works – organize a surprise drive-by, get-well parade of vehicles to show their love and support for one of their sick employees.

A fleet of 20 cars, vans and trucks arrived exactly on schedule at 11 a.m. Saturday and slowly filed past the Casselman home of cancer patient Chris Boulerice, who works as a senior plumber in the plumbing division of CCW, a national sewer inspection and rehabilitation firm. 

The company is based in Ottawa in the Lancaster-Sheffield industrial park, just off Highway 417. The Village of Casselman is about 50 kilometres southeast of the city.

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A parade of vehicles from Clean Water Works passed by the Casselman home of employee and cancer patient Chris Boulerice on Saturday, March 6, 2021. Photo by Caroline Phillips

The drivers gave short blasts of their horns as they passed by their co-worker's rural residence, where he lives on his own. They next erected a large Get Well Soon banner, held up by hockey sticks, on the front lawn of Boulerice's home. It was signed by dozens of employees and featured two logos: CWW and his team of choice, the Habs.

It was project manager Claire Collin who came up with the idea, working with Luc Renaud, general manager of plumbing and environmental, and plumbing manager Mitch Lajoie to pull the plan together.

“We’re kind of an army,” Renaud explained. “When one of our soldiers is down, we’re here to help him in his battle.”

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From left, Luc Renaud, Claire Collin and Mitch Lajoie, all managers with Clean Water Works, organized a drive-by parade for co-worker Chris Boulerice, who is currently battling cancer, and presented him with a get-well banner signed by colleagues. Photo by Caroline Phillips

Boulerice watched events unfold from his driveway and was seen later exchanging quick hugs and handshakes with his colleagues, who gathered around to say a few supportive words before jumping back into their vehicles and driving away, with a flurry of farewell honks. 

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Employees of Clean Water Works spent their Saturday morning driving out to Casselman to lift the spirits of co-worker Chris Boulerice, who is battling cancer. Photo by Caroline Phillips

“It’s unbelievable,” Paul McCarney, president and CEO of Clean Water Works said of the employees’ compassion. “These are co-workers genuinely concerned about the health and wellbeing of another co-worker, coming in after a 50- or 60-hour workweek on their own time on a Saturday and driving out to his house to surprise him. 

“You can’t ask for a better display of (a) culture of love at work.”

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From left, Mitch Lajoie, Luc Renaud and Claire Collin, all managers with Clean Water Works, with company president and CEO Paul McCarney in Casselman, Ont. on Saturday, March 6, 2021, to show support for a co-worker battling cancer. Photo by Caroline Phillips

Clean Water Works, which was founded by John Brule in 2005, specializes in sewer rehabilitation, pipe lining and maintenance. It services a variety of markets, including residential, commercial, industrial and institutional, and employs about 220 people. The company was acquired in 2016 by Market Square Equity Partners, a Toronto-based private equity firm. 

CWW uses trenchless technologies that require little to no excavation to improve performance and sustain the longevity of sewer infrastructures.

McCarney, who holds a degree in civil engineering from Carleton University, joined Clean Water Works in March 2019. He was formerly president of Ottawa Greenbelt Construction and Graydex Ottawa.

In 2018, the business leader was named Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser by the Ottawa chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals for his support of such nonprofit organizations as The Ottawa Hospital Foundation, The Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health and Christie Lake Kids.

– caroline@obj.ca