The week of April 19 th was marked as National Volunteer Week and I was inspired to see the lengths people across British Columbia went to thank our many hard-working volunteers. I wanted to take this week to further extend my gratitude to our many brave volunteers here in the North because their hard work and inspiration deserves recognition year-round, especially in this time of struggle while our businesses and communities are under the strains of COVID-19.

In a time when we can all feel isolated from our colleagues, friends, and family, our volunteers continue to carry the spirit of support and inclusion throughout the North, whether it be by delivering groceries, watching out for our vulnerable, donating money and canned goods to our foodbanks or helping supply our healthcare workers with medical PPE. We must all do our part to support each other any way we can — an action that can be as small as volunteering our time to check in on friends, family, and loved ones to make sure they are ok.

Volunteering has long been the lifeblood of communities and no one exemplified this more in our region than Sue Popesku. For over 40 years, her tireless work and countless hours of volunteering helped shape our growing city for the better in so many ways. Sue had her hand in pretty much every community initiative and her legacy can be found across the Northeast, including the North Peace Museum, Fort Nelson Museum and Northern Trails, the Fort St. John Hospital Foundation, School District 60, the North Peace Cultural Centre, and countless more. She helped secure millions of dollars in grants and funding for projects that promoted the arts, sport, education, healthcare, and tourism. I was deeply saddened to hear of Sue’s passing and we have truly lost a hero. Her dedication and generosity knew no bounds and her legacy will be felt across our region for generations to come.

Sue’s actions exemplify the impact that volunteering can have on a community. As we all band together to continue our fight against COVID-19, I am given hope every day knowing that the North is full of people who share the same passion and community spirit as Sue.

Thank you.