Breaking News

Editorial Opinion – Hometown heroes

Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen a number of Hometown Heroes step forward to help their neighbours and in so doing, continue the tradition of a compassionate community the First Nations and our pioneer families established when they first settled on these generous shores.

This community culture of caring should be celebrated – not just at Thanksgiving, not just during Volunteer Appreciation Day, Week or Month – but daily, whenever and wherever we as individuals see it happening.

Ron Johnston, proprietor of the Garden Bay Pub, recently organized a series of fundraisers to benefit the employees of the burned-out Grasshopper Pub – his former competition – and hired on two of the wait staff, even though his own business is going through a slow period. Ron went door to door in Pender Harbour, collecting items for a silent auction, and last Friday he and the folks attending the pub’s weekly Meat Draw raised $9,514. It’s not the first time Ron has extended a helping hand – usually, his acts of kindness are quiet gestures between him and the recipient.

Another group of heroes were front and centre helping douse the blaze at Grasshopper. Each of our communities fields a volunteer fire department – men and women who stand ready to drop whatever they may be doing and rush to save the lives and property of their neighbours. They all give up a day or two each week to train in techniques and equipment use, drilling while wearing full turnout gear even on the hottest summer days. Their brave and selfless dedication in volunteering as firefighters and first responders benefits everyone in the community – making it possible for each homeowner to obtain fire insurance for their dwelling, and keeping taxes low. A fully-paid and fully-staffed fire department would require substantial increase in property taxes to cover its operation. For everyone, this should be reason enough to say “thank you” to our firefighters whenever we see them in action.

Last week, we saluted the official opening of St. Mary’s Hospital, where each speaker paid special tribute to the shishalh First Nation, and the forward-thinking Council and Elders who, in the early 1960s, saw how giving land tainted by the hated Residential School to the community as a site for the hospital would be an important step in healing and reconciliation. (This was 50 years before the Truth and Reconciliation Committee began its work nationally.) No one used the term ‘heroic’ in describing that mid-century Council, but donating that land was an act of bravery, compassion, foresight, and generosity. When the totems now being carved are installed sometime in November, they will stand as a monument to those heroic men and women.

The totems will also stand as a monument to another group of heroes – the many hundreds of Hospital Auxiliary volunteers. Over the years, the Auxiliary raised millions of dollars to equip and furnish St. Mary’s. Serving as it does a population of almost 30,000 on the Sunshine Coast, it is a jewel of a hospital – equipped with cutting-edge technology now housed in the province’s most progressive medical building. The Auxiliary’s main fundraiser, the Thrift Shop, raises at least a quarter of a million dollars each year; this is supplemented by money brought in by bake and plant sales, penny drives, the annual Rods ‘n’ Hogz rally at the Crossroads Grill in Kleindale, and numerous other events. Like the firefighters, the auxiliary volunteers save the community taxpayers from a huge tax hit that would otherwise be necessary to cover the millions of dollars they’ve paid out over the years to benefit every single resident and visitor to our community.

These are only a few of our hometown heroes. Thank them when you see them.

We’d love to hear of other hometown heroes, Letters should be sent to or mailed to Box 494 Sechelt BC, V0N 3A0.

Heather Jeal, Editor

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Scroll To Top