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Kitten found at Gordie Howe bridge site becomes unofficial mascot

Angela Gismondi
Kitten found at Gordie Howe bridge site becomes unofficial mascot
WINDSOR-DETROIT BRIDGE AUTHORITY - This ginger haired cat was found on near one of the entrances of the U.S. Port of Entry on the Gordie Howe International Bridge project and became the unofficial mascot.

The adorable little orange kitten that became the unofficial mascot for the Gordie Howe International Bridge project recently celebrated the two-year anniversary of the day he was found.

On Nov. 4, 2021, Shannon Meeks, a construction manager for Parsons, the owner’s engineer for the project, found the kitten, Gordie, while he was driving near one of the entrances to the U.S. Port of Entry.

“He spotted a dog sniffing what appeared to be a bright orange sponge and when he pulled over to investigate, discovered the sponge was in fact a kitten,” reported a Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority (WDBA) spokesperson in an email to the Daily Commercial News.

The bridge is a cable-stayed international bridge currently under construction across the Detroit River connecting Windsor, Ont. and Detroit, Mich.

Meeks called colleague Emily Brown, a quality manager at Parsons, who was known for her love of cats.

“He was at the side of the road in a gutter. As it was November, Gordie was cold, tired, frail and covered in dirt. Emily guessed he was maybe a few hours from death. Gordie was very small, about the size of Emily’s palm.”

Gordie was nursed back to health by Emily Brown, who is now his proud owner.
WINDSOR-DETROIT BRIDGE AUTHORITY – Gordie was nursed back to health by Emily Brown, who is now his proud owner.

Brown took the kitten in and nursed him back to health. She picked up supplies at a local pet store and spent hours researching how to care for a young kitten. They formed such a strong bond that she decided to keep Gordie. She considers him a member of the family.

While taking care of him in the weeks after he was found, Brown brought Gordie to the project site and the trailer and he quickly became a local celebrity.

“As people on the project heard the story, they reached out to Emily asking if they could meet him, help look after him and even donate supplies and cat food,” said the spokesperson. “It gave Emily the opportunity to meet new people across the project and strengthen relationships with colleagues and partners, while providing a bit of ‘pet therapy’…and a little entertainment.”

“Work can be stressful,” added Brown. “For a lot of people, Gordie provided some laughs and stress relief. Spending time with or even seeing a kitten can turn your whole day around.” 

Gordie also serves as reminder of her work on the historic project.

“I’ve loved working on this project,” Brown explained. “I’ve loved the memories and the friends I’ve made. The Gordie Howe International Bridge project brings so many benefits to the community. I’m grateful I will have Gordie to help me remember and look back on this incredible journey once the project is complete.”

The WDBA was created to deliver the Gordie Howe International Bridge project through a public-private partnership. WDBA is responsible for overseeing and managing the construction and operation of the new crossing. Bridging North America is the private-sector partner designing, building, financing, operating and maintaining the project.

Follow the author on Twitter @DCN_Angela

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