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Family and friends recall Northbridge teen’s humor and compassion for others

By Bonnie Adams, Managing Editor

Jimmy Poulin, with his mother, Michelle. Photo/Michelle Poulin

Jimmy Poulin, with his mother, Michelle.
Photo/Michelle Poulin

Northbridge – Although his time on earth was much too short, Jimmy Poulin’s impact on those who knew him was immense and profound. In his nearly 16 years Jimmy attacked life with vigor, energy and enthusiasm. That was true especially if it involved anything with wheels, getting “big air” and speed. Whether it was snowboarding, skateboarding, BMX, scootering or motocross; friends and family feel he excelled at all of it. He was known for his great smile, as well as his good nature and sharp, quick wit. Sadly, the Northbridge teen passed away Feb. 2  due to complications triggered by Type 1 diabetes after a minor biking injury. He was the son of Michelle Poulin and Jim Poulin.

On May 22, a beautiful sunny Sunday afternoon, approximately 100 of his friends and family members gathered at the skate park located at Plummer Park in Northbridge to dedicate a special granite bench that had been placed there in his memory. The beautiful and poignant service was led by Gina Praino and Victoria Campbell, pastors and good friends of Jimmy’s mother, Michelle. Those who gathered wept and then laughed as they shared stories about the boy who’s funny, “constant sarcastic wit” could not dim a kind and generous heart.

Michelle began the ceremony by stating that her son “started walking at 9-1/2 months and really never stopped after that.” As the skate park was one of his favorite spots, she said, it seemed a perfect place for the bench. Along with his name, and years of birth and death, it also has a small BMX bike engraved on it.

The top is inscribed with words from the children’s classic “Winnie the Pooh” –

“If there ever comes a day when we can’t be together

Keep me in your heart, I’ll stay there forever.”

Among those she thanked were the town’s Department of Public Works for their efforts cleaning up the park in preparation for the ceremony. She also thanked Jimmy’s friends for the beautiful landscaping around the bench and for all that they had done to help keep his spirit alive.

Those friends, she noted, were “truly overwhelming” in their support for her, stopping by and text messaging to check and make sure she was doing OK.

“I never knew until now how many friends my son actually had, wow!” she said.

She noted she was also grateful to the town’s Parks and Recreation Committee, who had helped facilitate the process of getting the bench placed at the park.

Her father, Roger Auger, also spoke at the ceremony, recalling the special relationship he had with his grandson, which often involved Jimmy playing practical jokes on him.

“He was my best friend, we were a team, I did everything with him,” Auger said. “He was a funny, funny kid.”

But there was another side to his grandson, he added.

“He always stood up for the underdog. He wouldn’t stand for anyone being bullied,” he said. “That’s why you see so many friends here today. He was really a true friend to everyone.”

Several of Jimmy’s friends also shared stories, noting that he was like a brother to them. And like most brothers, mingled with the love and respect they shared were times that they fought, or ended up in the emergency room with stitches, they recalled.

“I fought with that kid so much. We fought over everything – toys when we were little or when he cut me off dirt biking as we got older,” Brad Barron laughed. “Even over Doritos!”

At the conclusion of the ceremony, the song “Humble and Kind” by Tim McGraw was played.

Don’t take for granted the love this life gives you
When you get where you’re goin’
Don’t forget turn back around
And help the next one in line
Always stay humble and kind

“Its words seemed to perfectly reflect the true core of who Jimmy was,” Praino noted of the song.

Next on Michelle’s agenda is raise funds for renovations at the park. Her hope, she said, is to make it a fun, updated skate park and safe place for everyone in the community and surrounding towns to enjoy.

“His spirit will live on here,” she said, speaking to her son’s friends. “I want this to be a place where you can remember him and all that you meant to him.”

To donate to the fundraiser, visit www.youcaring.com/jimmy-poulin-s-favorite-sk8park-is-rundown-in-need-of-update-574630.

Jimmy Poulin Photo/Michelle Poulin

Jimmy Poulin
Photo/Michelle Poulin

One of Jimmy's friends does a trick on a BMX bike. Photo/Bonnie Adams

One of Jimmy’s friends does a trick on a BMX bike.
Photo/Bonnie Adams

Jimmy's friends pose for a photo before the ceremony. Photo/Ginny Leger

Jimmy’s friends pose for a photo before the ceremony.
Photo/Ginny Leger

Pastor Gina Praino greets those gathered. Photo/Bonnie Adams

Pastor Gina Praino greets those gathered.
Photo/Bonnie Adams

Roger Auger shares stories of his grandson, Jimmy Poulin, who he said was his best friend. Photo/Ginny Leger

Roger Auger shares stories of his grandson, Jimmy Poulin, who he said was his best friend.
Photo/Ginny Leger

Michelle Poulin addresses the audience. Photo/Bonnie Adams

Michelle Poulin addresses the audience.
Photo/Bonnie Adams

The bench dedicated to the memory of Jimmy Poulin. Photo/Bonnie Adams

The bench dedicated to the memory of Jimmy Poulin.
Photo/Bonnie Adams

Short URL: http://www.communityadvocate.com/?p=75180

Posted by on May 31 2016. Filed under Byline Stories, Neighbors helping neighbors, People and Places, Region, Stories With Good Photos. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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