THUNDER BAY – BUSINESS – As many of you already are aware – last night marked a significant milestone in my life and in my career. I had the honor of being sworn in as the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce’s first ever Chair of the Board to identify of Aboriginal Heritage – on the 50th Anniversary of the City’s Chambers of Port Arthur and Fort William coming together to establish the one that exists today. Although I cannot verify the following for certain: many tell me that I am the first Aboriginal Chair of any Chamber of Commerce in the province, and perhaps even the country.
This milestone is a great honor and marks the beginning of an opportunity to start a dialogue about how we can move forward together. In the past weeks and days leading up to this event, I took some time to reflect on what this all means and how we got here. My conclusion is that I am truly blessed – as we all are – to live, work, and play in such a great place – that we call Thunder Bay and Northern Ontario. This community, the region, and in particular my hometown of Marathon and Pic River are hidden gems of world-class potential. Although we can sometimes become frustrated with details and the unexpected – on a large scale we are fortunate to live where we do, as are the residents many communities like ours across this country.
Reflecting on the news and stories of lesser conditions and circumstance in other areas of the world, as well as some of the troubling stories of problems we face in our own communities – primarily our inability to get along with each other at times to a point of hatred and violence – makes me realize how truly fortunate we are to be the community we are. We are not perfect – but we are heading in the right direction and have many people working very hard for us to make our community a better place. For that I am thankful, and hope I can do my small part to ensure we stay on this path toward positive development.
As the events unfolded yesterday celebrating this milestone, I was flooded with memories and positive thoughts of the many family, friends, and colleagues who have supported me and helped me along the way – and given me so many places to call “home”. From being a child growing up in Marathon and Pic River – to being a student on my first stay away from home at Brandon University – and the family/ fraternity that was developed there, especially within the School of Music – to my present home in Thunder Bay… Each of these places, but more importantly, the people – have left lasting impressions on me that give me the confidence, strength, and resolve to continue doing what I can to make things a little better as you have for me. I sincerely thank each and everyone one of you who have congratulated me over these past days and provided your kind words of support and encouragement. It is with you in mind, that will I carry forward and hope to do you well in this exciting new venture. Many Thanks,
Chair, Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce