Our community lost one of its greatest sports figures on Nov. 19, when Scott Finlay passed away at the age of 65.
Though his athletic career was short, the impact he made on the community is long lasting. At one time among the best ski-racers in the country, Finlay’s career ended in 1978 when he crashed during a Canadian championship competition in Lake Louise, Atla. His crash left him with a devastating brain injury, confining him to a wheelchair and denying him the ability to talk.
Tragic as that ’78 accident was, the Finlay family was able to make something good come of it. Through decades of tireless devotion and advocacy, Scott’s parents Hugh and Rosemary played a major role in helping to secure the funding to open a fully supportive acquired brain injury home, fittingly known as The Finlay House, inside the former Lenadco building in Napanee. In September of 2017, the dream became a reality as Scott moved into the home, which houses six adults living with an acquired brain injury who require special care.
This reporter had the privilege of being on hand when the ribbon was cut to officially celebrate the facility’s grand opening. The good news story represented something rarely seen in this business: closure with a happy ending. Many times over the years Hugh had been in contact with the Beaver, sharing every minor victory and every road bump in his quest to get an acquired brain injury home built for his son. For years he championed the section of town next to the hospital, citing how perfect it would be to open it in a location with so many medical facilities right next door. ‘Couldn’t have planned it any better if you tried’ he’d often say. As it turns out, he was exactly right.
The facility was seen as a major win for the Finlay family as their decades of hard work paid off, now knowing Scott would get the care he needed that they themselves could no longer provide as they got older. As an added bonus, it was in their own backyard. This quote from the Beaver story written about the opening says it all: “It’s way above our expectations,” said Hugh Finlay, smiling from ear to ear. “It’s really something.”
For just about any parent, the uncertainty of who will take care of their children after they’re gone can be extremely unsettling. Those fears become less of a burden as children grow into adults and can take care of themselves. For parents of children with special needs however, that uncertainty never goes away. That’s what makes The Finlay House so special-any family members know their loved ones will be taken care of while living there, which one can only imagine must feel like a thousand pounds of concern being lifted off someone’s shoulders. For that reason, Scott’s legacy will live on in this community, matching any accomplishment he achieved on the ski hill.
Condolences to the Finlay family as well as a big thanks for all they’ve done for our community.