Community’s worth it

Let’s help our neighbours make things happen when they’re this close to their dreams, and when all that stands in their way is money.

I heard recently that Mickey Wojnarowski isn’t feeling so well. For those of you who don’t know, a while back Mickey learned that he had a rare liver disease. He needed a new liver and was fortunate to find a perfect transplant match in his wife, Brendalee.

The operations were difficult for both of them, and their recoveries were long, complicated, and full of frequent trips to Vancouver. For the past few months, things have seemed better. Now, though, Mickey’s learning that his new liver isn’t happy as we all hoped it was. In hopes of regaining his health and avoiding another transplant, Mickey is looking at treatments that are not covered by healthcare.

I’m writing this letter because I want to support the people who make this valley my home. Mickey and Brendalee have taught me a lot about what a community is about: a place where we help each other live well and make the most of our short stints on Earth.

Rosemarie Parent is another person who knows life doesn’t last forever. Her husband Milton passed away suddenly in July. Rosemarie and Milton have been committed to preserving local history and making sure that everything that has been collected and organized will be found and remembered. They are currently erecting a new building to house the Historical Society’s extensive archives.

Rosemarie has seen (many times) the excited pleasure we feel at learning that our grandmothers were cowgirls or world travellers, and that our great-grandfather lived adventure stories, and that the road that was once here is now underwater. Imagine the faces our children and their friends when, as adults, they learn about our rich lives and scandals.

Here are people living each day as if it could be their last. Being around them is a joy because they openly acknowledge the This-Could-Be-It-ness of life: we all know that every day could be “it”, but it’s so easy to smooth this fact over with some different reality. Brendalee, Mickey, and Rosemarie remember. And so do many, many other people who live here.

Let’s help our neighbours make things happen when they’re this close to their dreams, and when all that stands in their way is money. I believe that supporting Mickey, Brendalee, Rosemarie, and the other people who are committed to this community, is a way of standing together to say, “Here we are. We love these people, and we love this place.”

Donations for Mickey’s liver treatment can be sent to Mickey Wojnarowski, 580 Billings Rd, Nakusp, and donations to build the new Archives can be sent to the Arrow Lakes Historical Society, Box 819, Nakusp, or dropped off at the credit union in Nakusp. And even though I’m not feeling flush at the moment, I’m sending $75 in both directions. It’s worth it.




Sabina Iseli-Otto

Nakusp, B.C.