Lawrence Pond, NL - Lawrie O'Brien

My name is Lawrie O’Brien and I’m from Conception Bay South, Nfld. I’m a Health & Safety Coordinator with McKeil, based out of our St. John’s office.

I’ve been working with McKeil just since November so not that long. My most powerful memory of water would be...well I swam competitively my whole life - I was on the swim team right from the time when I was 8 years old up until I had finished university. My grandfather’s favorite story to tell because he was so proud of me for doing so well with my swimming and going so far with it, his favorite story to tell everyone was how he took me swimming for my first time at Bowring Park. That’s an outdoor swimming pool in St. John’s.

He took me swimming there for my first time and I stuck my big toe in the water and I was absolutely terrified and squealed and ran away. My favorite place to swim is Lawrence Pond, it’s in Upper Gullies which is not far from where I grew up in Conception Bay south. We used to always go to this wharf, we had it called Tipton’s because that’s the name of the family that owned it. We used to climb up on top of their boathouse and jump into the pond. Of course now that I’m an adult, I just enjoy the pond and access it the way I am supposed to. I got over my fear of water when my brother pushed me in. I don’t really remember it. Even the time when my grandfather took me swimming and I stuck my big toe in and was terrified – I don’t remember that either because I was only about 3 and a half, 4 years old. I know my brother got in a lot of trouble for pushing me in.

These are just stories that have been told to me, I don’t have actual memories of them. My first memory of water is there’s this little place on the road from my house. It was called the Mud Hole. There were pipes under the road and everybody would swim under the pipes. That was probably the first time I can ever remember swimming outdoors anywhere. I went back there years later and in my memory the Mud Hole was this big gigantic elaborate swimming place. I went back there years later and it was literally just a little tiny pothole. Water is important to me because it is so essential to keeping all of us alive and healthy.

In addition to that and how important cleaning drinking water is to keep us alive and healthy, it provides a workplace for so many of my co-workers including myself to go out sailing and fishing. Also, the lifetime of memories of fun that I have of being able to swim outdoors.

Lawrence Pond, NL
McKeil Marine
Lawrie O'Brien

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