Prince Albert Voice
July 25, 2019 held special significance to a group of 25 individuals who convocated from Gabriel Dumont College and the University of Regina with a degree in Community Based Master of Education. Friends and family met for a delicious meal at Prince Albert Golf and Curling Club followed by speeches, gifts and photographs. This group of graduates represented several communities including Prince Albert, La Ronge, Candle Lake, Saskatoon, Big River, Manitoba and Biggar.
Imagine being young and feeling like you’re out of options. You have no one you feel secure turning to for help due to overwhelming disappointments you’ve already encountered. After another sleepless night, you’ve had enough, and no matter what it takes, you’re getting clean and sober. You’ll never return to this kind of life again. Donna Gamble Lerat, daughter of Norris and Sylvia Petit nee Gamble, granddaughter of Jean Marie and Alice Petit and her Mooshum and Kokum, Vital and Philomene (Sutherland) Gamble, found herself in a situation like this. She decided her life was meant to have more potential than what she was allowing it to. After much meditation, rehabilitation and a mental shift, Donna began a long and difficult struggle to sobriety. A road she has traveled for decades and has assisted others to find as well.
Do you ever notice most of us often don’t pay a complement to someone until it’s too late? We can reminisce after the person has moved away and we remember how fun they were to be around. Many of our memories bring back incredibly, never-before-to-be-repeated experiences that would never have been the same if not for them. Or perhaps we are with a group of friends and family recalling the memory of an incredible person whom we never told how much they meant, when they were alive. We never took the time to tell them what a beautiful person they were and the reasons why we had such a high regard and a unique, lasting affection for them that will never fade. And then it’s too late, and they’re gone. My birth place is Prince Albert, at the Holy Family Hospital, and my home town is Candle Lake, a place that is my Grandfather’s claim to fame as one of the Town’s founding fathers (also the reason there exists a street sign in the community named ‘DePeel Avenue’). My affection is firmly entrenched in memories of Prince Albert since so much of my childhood revolves around “going to Town”.
I have always been fascinated by names and often ask people how their parents decided on the name(s) they were given. When I was naming my own daughter, I knew I needed to impart strength and courage to her as she was born with split lip and cleft palate. For her, it meant life would be full of challenges that include invasive surgeries and long recovery times. So I wanted her to be able to bounce back and be just as strong, if not stronger, than she was before her surgery. I wanted to name her Poppy. Poppies don’t care where they grow, they just sprout and grow in the hardest soil, cement, or wherever. They find a way to reproduce and spread seeds for the next generation. I wanted my daughter’s name to have that same spirit so nothing would bring her down. In the end I chose a more unique name that translates to ‘resilient attractive lily’.
Imagine being diagnosed with a disability that takes away your ability to make the living you seem to have been born to carry out. That’s what happened to Robin Holmes. She loved being a truck driver and then it all changed when the symptoms of her disability forced her to give up her livelihood. Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba to a Cree father and a European mother, Robin spent most of her young life moving across Canada. Perhaps that’s where her love of travel was borne. As a truck driver, Robin found a lot of respect working in a largely male dominated career. She says it wasn’t uncommon for her to stop for the night, and as she checked her load to ensure it was secure, some of her male comrades would join her and help her. She realized they were showing her respect and that she’d been accepted by them when they did this. One of the things that have always been a part of Robin’s philosophy of life is to treat others as you wish to be treated. She finds when she treats others with respect then she earns respect from others, and they see her, not her disabilities.