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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Cottam celebrates one of its own

Updated: Jun 20, 2019

by Garrett Fodor

  Whether he is walking or riding his bike, Shad ‘the Mayor of Cottam’ Grieve is recognizable and usually stops to talk to those he passes, by, like a local celebrity. Shad earned his title of ‘the Mayor of Cottam’ when he turned 19-years-old. His mom, Sheila, put a big picture of him on the front yard. It happened to be an election year, so the picture garnered a different type of response.

“Someone put up a sign next to it which said, ‘Vote for Shad for Mayor,” she said. “That is how it all started. People were driving by the house and honking their horns, saying we will vote for you Shad.”

  Growing up Shad has overcome adversity, having an intellectual disability. He was also born with a heart condition and two club feet. But throughout his life, Shad has overcome it with a big smile on his face and had the support of his mom. Not to mention the hundreds of friendships he has made along the way.

  On June 19, Shad celebrates his 40th birthday. When asked about it, Shad said he’s getting up there in age, with a big smile on his face. He added that it feels like just yesterday he was in his 20s.

  He has lived in Cottam his whole life and while having the title of ‘Mayor,’ Shad is always out and about, whether it be at the Kingsville North Fire Station, the soccer fields where he coaches youth, or the Essex arena where he also coaches and supports his favourite team, the Essex 73’s. The Essex Fire Department even made Shad an honorary Captain, complete with a hat. Shad was honoured as the 73’s number one fan, with a team signed jersey and presentation in 2016.

  No matter who you ask in Cottam, they all have stories about Shad and, in return he can usually tell you their name as well and maybe even a story or two. From picking people up when they fall, to making sure they are okay, or just making them smile and laugh with his own infectious smile and character, Shad has a knack for making an impact on those he crosses paths with.

  Dallas Pereira, 24, is a former 73’s Captain and now Assistant Coach. He said Shad has made a lasting impact on his life. He adds that he’s known Shad for nearly 20 years and remembers Shad being at the Cottam Park coaching soccer, as he does today. He said it has really come full circle, with Shad wearing Pereira’s jersey when he played for the 73’s and now coaching his Monday night hockey team.

  “Shad is an all-around fun loving and positive guy with a big heart. He really cares about his friends,” said Pereira. “He’s really like an icon, everyone in the county knows Shad, from kids to adults, everyone loves him. He’s made such a positive impact on the community and is a role model. He is never just sitting around.”

  Pereira added that to see Shad at the rink supporting him and his teammates when he played was great and something he looked forward to. He added Shad is always at the glass during warmups, getting the guys fired up and making sure they are ready. He said that seeing him and how much he wanted the team to win inspired himself and the team to compete just that much harder.

  Sheila noted that Shad loves sports, from baseball and soccer to hockey. He always watches and likes to be involved. It is only fitting that sinceShad spends so much time at the park, his 40th birthday party be held at Ridgeview Park in Cottam. She said the party was arranged by the Cottam United Church, where he’s a member and plays on their softball team.

  The party takes place on Sunday, June 23 with doors opening at 11:30 and going until 1:30, anyone is welcome to attend and wish him a happy birthday. Sheila said that it takes a village to raise a child and without the village of Cottam and their support, she and Shad would not be where they are today.

  Pereira extended a big happy 40th birthday to Shad, from all his friends with the Essex 73’s and his players from the Custom Cuts Monday night team.

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