Thank you, Deb

The loss of deputy mayor Deb Huddlestan last weekend will be felt far and wide.

Thanks to its 35 years of service to North Vancouver Island, many people here are well aware of the Gazette Hamper Fund.

They may be somewhat less aware of the groups and volunteers who make it possible to provide Christmas meals and gifts to more than 500 families and individuals each holiday season.

See, the Hamper Fund bears our name, and we possess the platform to publicize it. But the Hamper Fund has never been solely a North Island Gazette function. Its successes flow from the input and volunteer labour of a wide cross-section of community volunteers.

One of those staunch volunteers in recent years has been Debbie Huddlestan, most recently identified as a Port Hardy councillor and deputy mayor. When her close friend Cathie Poje was force to step down as the longtime volunteer in charge of toy delivery for the Hamper Fund, Huddlestan immediately stepped forward to offer her time and effort to the cause.

This continued even after she assumed a spot on Port Hardy council following the death of her husband, Al, to cancer in March of 2013. Indeed, while Deb decided to retire from service as a councillor in the recent municipal elections, she had agreed to return to volunteer this year for another season with the Hamper Fund.

With the news of her sudden passing Sunday morning, we were left with a huge hole to fill on the Hamper Fund board.

But we never had a chance to persuade a replacement to take on her duties. Within a day of the tragic news, no fewer than three individuals walked into the Gazette office with offers to step in and take on her role. Another, former Gazette publisher and Hamper Fund board chair Sandy Grenier, made the same offer via text message.

This overwhelming response was about the Hamper Fund, to a degree. But it was even more about recognizing Debbie’s contributions to the project, and making sure that her work was continued and honoured.

The Gazette thanks current Hamper Fund board member Kevin Martineau and his wife, Lauren, for being first in line to assume Deb’s duties. We offer a special nod to Grenier, Craig and Dee Ferguson, and teacher Robyn Gordon for their offers, and those who have contacted the aforementioned to offer their services.

We also wish to extend our heartfelt condolences to the daughters and extended family of Debbie Huddlestan, and to Cathie Poje, who has lost her two best friends in the span of six months with the passing of Mayor Bev Parnham in May.

As Debbie said during Parnham’s celebration of life:

“Bev felt that leadership is a gift that comes with huge responsibility. It is the opportunity to make positive change in the lives of others. She said it is a job of a leader to inspire and urge people, young and old, to make their community a better place. I think she succeeded in that job.”

So did you, Deb. So did you.

 

Just Posted

OPINION: Urgent care room will cost lives

“Seniors, of any demographic, are the most vulnerable to the loss of emergency care.”

James Hayward coroner’s inquest rescheduled hours away from where RCMP shooting occured

The family is “a bit disappointed that it’s going to be held in Campbell River”

Deadline looming for North Island College scholarship applications

Students have until April 24 to apply for a record number of… Continue reading

BC Ferries to pilot selling beer and wine on select routes

Drinks from select B.C. breweries and VQA wineries to be sold on Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen route

Gil’s Girls win Harvey Walkus Memorial Ball Hockey Tournament in shootout

This year the tournament was held at the Don Cruickshank Memorial Arena on April 12-14.

VIDEO: Alberta man creates world’s biggest caricature

Dean Foster is trying to break the world record for a radio show contest

B.C. senior sentenced for sexually abusing special-needs granddaughter

73-year-old Cortes Island man will go to jail for three years

Howe Sound Queen sailing toward retirement

Vessel now up for auction ends regular runs between Crofton and Vesuvius at the beginning of June

Should B.C. lower speed limits on side roads to 30 km/h?

Vancouver city councillor wants to decrease speed limits along neighbourhood side roads

Lawsuit eyed over union-only raise for B.C. community care workers

‘Low-wage redress’ leaves 17,000 employees out, employers say

Landlord of alleged Okanagan shooter recounts deadly day

Tony Friesen was working in one of the units of his Penticton building when he heard shots

Foreign national arrested in connection to thefts at YVR

A woman, 60, is being held in police custody as Richmond RCMP investigate

Police pursue pesky porker on Vancouver Island

‘This was allegedly not the pig’s first escape’

Westjet tries again to dismiss proposed class-action lawsuit alleging discrimination

Former flight attendant claims airline broke contractual promise to create harassment-free workplace

Most Read