Co-op Community Champion: Margaret Little

Co-op’s inaugural Community Champion is a community member who has her hands in seemingly everything, especial…

Co-op’s inaugural Community Champion is a community member who has her hands in seemingly everything, especially when it comes to local seniors.

Co-op is highlighting people in Fort St. John who should be recognized for the work they do in the community. Anyone looking to nominate a community-minded person in need of recognition, head to Energeticcity’s website.

This month’s Champion is Margaret Little, who was nominated by two members of the community. An honourable mention goes to Margaret’s husband Jim who was included in one of the nominations.

Surprised by the nomination, Margaret said they’re thankful, but they never seek recognition.

“Jim, and I never think about the impact we might have on people,’ says Margaret.

Both have called Fort St. John home for over 70 years with Margaret working as a teacher in Fort St. John and Jim working with the provincial government, which included watching over crown land, before retiring.

The duo has worked tirelessly to make the community a better place, especially with their advocacy for seniors. This includes pushing for better health care, sitting on the Save Our Northern Seniors board, and spearheading a project that purchased robotic cats for those with dementia.

“Our community is very, very important to us. Whatever we can do in our community, we will continue to do what we can do.  Jim and I have always been sort of in the background, we don’t come out from the centre saying ‘look what we did’ we like to say ‘look what our community does’,” says Margaret.

When there was a public consultation on the importance of potential locations for hospitals in Dawson Creek and Fort St. John, Margaret and Jim were there. When plans for the Peace Villa was in the preliminary stage, Margaret and Jim were there.

Both have been heavily involved in spreading the message about the importance of having more seniors facilities in the community.

The need for seniors facilities hits close to home for the couple after Jim’s mother was transferred to Pouce Coupe due to a lack of housing.

“They said, ‘Oh, she’ll just be there a little while before she comes back to Fort St. John’, 15 months later, we were able to get her back into Fort St. John into what’s now called North Peace Seniors Housing. That was absolutely devastating for her. It’s devastating to be sent away from your community and away from your family. ”

Margaret adds they’ve always tried to make life better for people in the community, not just for seniors.

“We have a number of young people who have multiple sclerosis is just one thing. Some people have Lou Gehrig’s disease or ALS, there are all sorts of issues that younger people have, and they need the support in a facility, but we also need support to keep people in their own home.”

After reading an article about how robotic cats can comfort people with dementia, Jim and Margaret along with another couple each bought a cat.

“We took it to Peace Villa and [we were taken] down to the wing where the cat was going to go and the joy that robotic cat brought to the people that were there was awesome, and to see their eyes light up and wanting to hold the cat.”

Jim compares seeing the care for seniors grow in the community to how elders are respected in First Nation communities.

“It’s good to see that every group is respecting and supporting their elders,” says Jim.

Along with their seniors’ advocacy, Jim and Margaret, who are both from farming backgrounds, belong to the North Pine Farmers Institute. Through the group, they advocate for the local agriculture sector.

The Little’s mentioned looking to continue using their university educations to give back to the community.

Co-op’s Community Champion is highlighting people in Fort St. John who should be recognized for the work they do in the community. Anyone looking to nominate a community-minded person in need of recognition, head to Energeticcity’s website.

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