The Best of Fernie issue is an incredible way to honour those in our community who work hard to help make this place the amazing community that it is. The Elk Valley is home to many individuals and groups who promote kindness and generosity through both large and small acts of volunteer and paid work. I think about the two men who work downtown cleaning early in the morning and are always happy to say hello. The RCMP members who work diligently to keep us safe. The teachers who have molded and adapted their roles with kindness over the past year, and the lovely humans who dedicate their time to caring for our seniors. In efforts to acknowledge some of these wonderful humans I posed the following question to a few friends:
Who is one person (whether you know their name or not) who makes a difference in our valley that others may not be aware of?
The responses were overwhelming, warmed my heart and made me so proud to live in this community. So much so that I want to share what I learned about a few incredible people with all of you:
Renee Fairchild is wonderful. She loves horses and shares this love with so many people in our community. Kids, adults, individuals with disabilities, you name it. She fosters a connection between humans and animals that is like no other.
Dennis Staples is the club president of the Fernie Volleyball Club and he pours his heart and soul into the club so that kids can develop a love for the sport. With Covid-19 he is working extra hard to find ways to make sure that kids can still play.
Rocky Ferregotto is one of the founding members of the Fellaship group. He helps organize the meetings and has a passion for helping others, it is what brings him joy. He also does maintenance at the Chrysalis House and Trinity Lodge. If you need anything, he will do all that he can to help.
Jessica Ward is highly involved in Girl Guides. She does not have a daughter; she just wants to give back to a society that has given a lot to her.
Vanessa Avery-Willems seems to have everyone’s back. She has pulled an incredible community together and supports other local businesses, groups, and individuals as much as she can. She is one of the most genuine and thoughtful people around and is an amazing listener without any judgement.
Elenor Tweddell is such a kind and generous human. She volunteers her time to teach caregivers how to massage their loved ones at the end of their lives. She does this work through the Elk Valley Hospice Society.
Randy and Patty Cameron are not only always jovial, kind, and willing to help they would give you the shirts off their back if you needed the warmth. They can always be found helping (often with donated time) to build driveways, removing snow, setting up for events, or helping our youth get started in jobs. On top of all that they play Santa and Mrs. Claus every year.
There is a couple who walk on the highway near Hosmer every day all year long. He is on a bike and she walks, seeing them every day gives me the motivation to carry on.
It is important to note that this is not an exhaustive list of the many amazing humans who donate time, resources, and care in this community. I wish I could learn and write about each and every one of them. As this is not possible, when you read this article please think of someone who belongs on this list and give them a call or send them a note letting them know how much they are appreciated for all that they do.