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Our LANGLEY Our PEOPLE | Supplement to The Langley Times | Tuesday, October 30, 2012 | 1

our

LANGLEY. our PEOPLE BRENT MALISH pg.12

MIKE ROBERDS pg. 24

SEAN THOMAS pg. 6

GLENNA COOK pg. 9

FRANK ROBERTO pg. 23

CATHY GIBBS pg. 17

MICHAEL & ELIZABETH PRATT pg. 16

DIANE GENDRON pg. 31

CARLO CORAZZIN pg. 14

TERRY METCALFE pg. 4

KIM SNOW pg. 32

ROY BROWN pg. 26

LEIGH CASTRON pg. 34

TODD HAUPTMAN pg. 27

CHELSEA HANNESSON pg. 21

SYLVIA ANDERSON pg. 22

TROY GAGLARDI pg. 29

ALICE JOHNSON pg. 10

PETER LUONGO pg. 33


2 | Tuesday, October 30, 2012 | Our LANGLEY Our PEOPLE | Supplement to The Langley Times

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Our LANGLEY Our PEOPLE | Supplement to The Langley Times | Tuesday, October 30, 2012 | 3

our Langley. our People. Langley is a diversified community with

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the people who put their hearts and souls

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4 | Tuesday, October 30, 2012 | Our LANGLEY Our PEOPLE | Supplement to The Langley Times

When ordinary people do extraordinary things, magic happens.

Terry Metcalfe

T

The Langley Memorial Hospital Foundation would like to recognize and thank all of Langley’s ‘un-sung’ heroes for making this a wonderful community to live, work and raise a family. S u p p o r t y o u r n e w M at e r n i t y C e n t r e

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…the one constant in his life has been the importance of service to his community, whether it’s his careers in the military, public education and fire department, or the myriad of volunteer positions he’s served and continues to serve in his retirement.

erry Metcalfe has seen many changes in Langley over the past 60-odd years. Langley today doesn’t look anything like the rural hamlet he came to in 1949 when his parents moved the family halfway across the country from his birthplace of Regina. And in many ways Metcalfe has contributed to those changes over the years, and indeed, continues to contribute to them. However, the one constant in his life has been the importance of service to his community, whether it’s his careers in the military, public education and fire department, or the myriad of volunteer positions he’s served and continues to serve in his retirement. “When we first came to 42 Avenue, Hillcrest, in Brookswood there had been a large forest fire here in the ‘40s, and I was playing in the ashes,” recalls Metcalfe. “And Belmont was a one-room red school house, where I attended grades 1 and 2, before it was replaced.” He went on to graduate from Langley Secondary in 1962 and after completing grade 13 and training at Royal Roads and Royal Military College in Kingston in 1967, he signed on with the Royal Canadian Navy. He was sure he wanted a career in the navy, and thoroughly enjoyed seeing the world on destroyer escorts from Panama to Australia to Tahiti for three years, but found it was not what he wanted to do. “I decided it was not for me and on my release in 1970 I went to

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Our LANGLEY Our PEOPLE | Supplement to The Langley Times | Tuesday, October 30, 2012 | 5

SFU for my teaching certificate. In January 1972 I started teaching at H.D. Stafford Secondary.” floor’s 26 residents. There are 150 staff, although some are part-time. Metcalfe remained involved with the Sea Cadet program, however. He was one of the original members of “When it started in 1974 it was seniors housing, but now it’s complex care. Thanks to programs that help RCSCC Columbia in Aldergrove as he transferred here from New Westminster in 1959 when Columbia was keep people in their own homes longer we’re seeing residents who are much frailer than before. I can founded by George McAdam. remember when there used to be half a dozen wheelchairs used at the Lodge, today there are 50.” “I was Columbia’s first senior cadet, from 1959 to 1963, and came back as an officer from 1972 to 1986. The 24-hour care, food and activities to keep minds active cost money. It works out to I served under George McAdam and took over as commanding officer when he $5,400 each resident per month, and while most residents are subsidized by government, retired.” there are presently 18 who are able to pay their own way privately. Metcalfe also started out as a volunteer fire fighter in Langley in 1972 at Brook“There are more today who need help with their medications, we have two physiotheraswood Hall #5, where he rose to chief, and when Langley Township offered its six “Retired people like myself pists, a hairdresser — more than three quarters are women, they live longer than men district fire chiefs full-time employment in 1986, Metcalfe decided the time was ripe — and we like to offer programs and activities so that they’re not stuck in front of a TV are valuable because we’re all day long.” for another career change. “As it happened 1986 was a struggle for the B.C. Teachers’ Federation,” recalls MetThe residents don’t have cash but they have a comfort fund that pays for treats like the available in the daytime calfe. “The BCTF had become a union and 1985 was their first strike. So I switched Lodge’s “New to You Clothing Sales” and supplements to the food service such as the but it comes to a point to the fire department.” pork roast dinner for residents and invited families, and the Valentine’s dinner, at which Here Metcalfe rose through the ranks to become Township Fire Chief, before retirMetcalfe and volunteers dress up in suits and ties and attend to tables as servers. when you have to pick ing in 2004 as the department began its transition to full-time crews. Today there “Food is one of the few delights left to many residents, and we also have a bus for outings are four full-time fire halls, with a total crew of 64, 16 per shift. and choose how many that is funded by the Langley Rotarians.” He observes that there are fewer fire calls these days, thanks to smoke alarms and While the primary funding for the Lodge’s operations comes from government, the Care organizations you can be sprinklers that help reduce overall damage, but in trade there is a larger role in and associated Care Foundation must raise funds for the little extras that make attending vehicular crashes. involved with. So I’ve put my Society residents’ lives more enjoyable and meaningful. “We are first responders and not only do we protect the injured, we also protect major focus on the Lodge.” For example the society’s Oct. 13 “1940s New York-themed Gala” at Cascades Theatre ambulance paramedics from being hit by cars or hurt by toxic spills. Fires are fewer had a target of raising $50,000 to pay for the horticulture, music therapy and pastoral but still require manpower.” care programs. Over those years he built his home next door to his parents’ home in Brookswood, The horticulture program has two workers which provide landscaping for the Lodge, but also allows resias well as served as past-president of Aldergrove Rotary Club and current chair of the Aldergrove Credit dents with “green thumbs” the therapy of digging in the dirt and growing flowers. Music therapy includes a Union board of directors. choir, handbell group and sing-alongs. And while church groups routinely come into the Lodge, the pastoral His biggest challenge since retiring has been leading the major reconstruction of Langley Lodge, where he care provides for spiritual needs of those who may not have a home church. currently serves as chair of the Care Society that oversees its operations. “It’s just a part of the $250,000 overall that we must raise every year,” says Metcalfe. “We have other events “Retired people like myself are valuable because we’re available in the daytime but it comes to a point at Cloverdale Raceway and Brookswood Theatre, and we apply for grants, and the Township and City of when you have to pick and choose how many organizations you can be involved with. So I’ve put my major Langley assist us too. focus on the Lodge.” “It can be stressful, there are so many charities out there today after the same dollars, but when it comes The Lodge’s 28 million renovation has fully modernized the original 1974 building, which were previously down to the wire it never ceases to amaze me how everyone pulls together and helps us reach the targets,” double rooms shared by pairs of seniors. Now the 139 residents have private rooms to themselves (although says Metcalfe. there are still five double rooms which are available to couples), and each floor has a dining room for the

Photo and Story by KURT LANGMANN

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6 | Tuesday, October 30, 2012 | Our LANGLEY Our PEOPLE | Supplement to The Langley Times

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Our LANGLEY Our PEOPLE | Supplement to The Langley Times | Tuesday, October 30, 2012 | 7

charismatic” nature. “If you care enough about something, other people will believe in it and care, too. Malhotra, a surprise guest at Kids Can Help, which Sean started four years That is how you start to make a difference,” he said. ago at the age of seven, learned that the charity had raised $15,301 last year “We are very, very proud of both our children,” Tammy said. for B.C. Children’s Hospital, far surpassing its initial goal of $10,000. “They both have the ability to understand the simplicity of making a difference Malhotra was asked if he had ever seen someone so young achieve so much. and wanting to encourage other people to care about something strongly enough “I’ve got to say no,” he replied. “He’s far beyond his years.” Not only that, but at the tender age of 11, Sean is charming, eloquent and a to make it their passion, too.” “I just want to keep gentleman. Most of all, though, he has a passion for making a difference, and Kids Can Help directs every cent of fundraising money to B.C. Children’s Hospital, expanding it into a encouraging others to do the same. but there are bound to be other recipients, if Sean’s goal to expand bears fruit. Home schooled, he is not only a successful fundraiser, but also an worldwide organization “I just want to keep expanding it into a worldwide organization where kids can be accomplished musician and has an aptitude for mathematics. where kids can be inspired inspired by other kids to make a difference,” he said. Despite his accomplishments, he does not set himself apart from others his age. While Jordan’s goal is to become a doctor, Sean’s is rooted in fundraising and by other kids to make a “I feel that I’m like any other kid in the world. I just have a passion and I music. believe in it. I like to help people, and it’s not a job to me.” difference,” he said. There are key Canadians who inspire him, among them Craig Kielburger who, at There’s not a shred of precociousness about him, and what keeps him just about the age Sean is now, became incensed at the murder of an 11-year-old grounded is a loving family who nurture his passion and talents. Pakistani boy who had worked as a slave. Kielburger formed Free The Children to Sports, particularly snowboarding and swimming, are among his hobbies. eradicate child slave labour around the world. “But my biggest thing is music,” he says, counting off the instruments he plays: piano, guitar, bass and drums. His only sibling, his brother Jordan, is Others have made a difference, too. a drummer, and they often enjoy jam sessions. Jordan is proud to play a strong and supportive role “I’m really inspired by Michael Buble because he gave proceeds [from a concert] to B.C. Children’s in Kids Can Help. Hospital. And David Foster, because he’s done everything in music and has a foundation.” A musical prodigy who has perfect pitch, “Sean hears the world in music,” says his mother, Tammy. Although it was Sean who hatched Kids Can Help, he is quick to point out that the group, which One day, the two were in a local department store when Sean created a three-part harmony in his

“ ”

head from the sound of metal clothes hangers being shifted on metal rails, the clatter of shopping buggies, and the clang of cash registers. From those sounds, Sean said he could “hear the sound of music coming . . . it was pretty cool.” In September, Kids Can Help launched its fourth year with a goal to raise $20,000, matching the amount raised in its first three years, Can it be done? His philosophy suggests absolutely yes.

now has more than 20 members around his age, is a team. “They are such a good team and we all work together. I don’t feel like I’m a leader of the team. I’m part of the team.” Youngsters who would like to join Kids Can Help, or anyone who would like to donate, should visit seanthomasmusic.ca.

Photo and Story by NATASHA JONES

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8 | Tuesday, October 30, 2012 | Our LANGLEY Our PEOPLE | Supplement to The Langley Times

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Our LANGLEY Our PEOPLE | Supplement to The Langley Times | Tuesday, October 30, 2012 | 9

Glenna Cook

S

he’s the Cook with a capital C. Glenna Cook is the head cook — “yes, and bottle washer too,” — at Langley Lodge, a long-term care facility in the

City. One would think that preparing meals for 130 residents would be a daunting thought. But that’s far from the case with Cook. Calm and unruffled, it’s impossible to imagine her flying off the handle if someone burns the bacon or a pot boils over. Her kitchen, neat as a pin between meals, is quietly busy. In one corner, Cook is chopping onions, loads of them, for soup. An assistant is at the giant sink rinsing pots, another is checking a tray of baked chicken. A tour of the walk-in coolers and freezers reflects the same order. Despite such a challenging and responsible job, Cook remains calm. “It’s second nature to me because I’ve been doing it for such a long time,” she said. She began her career at a French restaurant and so her background is French cuisine. She doesn’t have the headache of planning menus and ordering food, although naturally her manager welcomes her suggestions. Once a month, Cook, her manager and a dietitian meet with a group of residents, going over ideas to make absolutely certain that meals suit the palates of the residents. Glancing at a week’s menu, it’s clear that variety is emphasized:

cream of squash, fresh tomato basil and minestrone among the soup selections. Bangers, chicken pot pie, lasagna, cranberry chicken, crunchy white fish and so on, all served with vegetables, whipped, mashed or scalloped potatoes, chow mein noodles or garlic toast, for mains. Desserts include ice cream, rice pudding, pumpkin loaf, fruit, pumpkin loaf and lemon cake. With such a high number of aging residents, dietary restrictions are common and much care is given so that diabetics and those prone to choking are served suitable dishes. “Compared to other care homes, everything at Langley Lodge is made fresh,” Cook said. After spending decades in the business, the love of the job is still evident. Just watch as she fills profiteroles with cream, then drizzles chocolate over the top of the delicate desserts. Making desserts is the favourite part of her job, but at home she turns her attention to French main course dinners such as coquille Saint-Jacques and beef bourguignon. Sliding the tray of profiteroles into a draw, the pleasure of the artwork is evident. “I love making desserts, and I like catering. I love what I do. I’m so lucky.”

Photo and Story by

NATASHA JONES

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10 | Tuesday, October 30, 2012 | Our LANGLEY Our PEOPLE | Supplement to The Langley Times

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Our LANGLEY Our PEOPLE | Supplement to The Langley Times | Tuesday, October 30, 2012 | 11

School she had attended being torn down that really took her to another level of involvement and activism. mizes how Willoughby is changing dramatically. Her dad and his brother Walfrid came to Canada from Sweden and had adjacent 20-acre farms in Wil“That is the one project that is really dearest to me,” she says. loughby. Both were well-known in Willoughby, where neighbours regularly co-operated in helping bring In 1996, the school district was getting ready to build a new Willoughby Elementary at 80 Avenue and 208 in crops, tending sick animals, supporting the school and community hall and being essential parts of a Street, and was ready to demolish the old building that had stood there since 1931. It was Willoughby’s functioning community. first school. She remembers growing up with little in the way of extras, “but we always had She rallied many members of the community and took on the school board, which she food on the table.” describes “as a tough school board at that time.” She attended school for four years at the Willloughby School which, many years “They didn’t think we could do it,” she says. “I don’t know how I get later, she played a key part in preserving. She attended West Langley School for the She encouraged the Willoughby Women’s Institute and Willoughby Hall Society to work next four years and then the old Langley High School, which sat where the Safeway myself into all these things. together to take over the building. The school district agreed to move it to another part shopping centre at 208 Street and Fraser Highway is now located. I get a lot of pleasure out of of the site, and the community groups lease it from the school district. It is now used Halfway through Grade 10, she and her fellow students moved to the brand-new as a child care centre. Money to cover all the costs came from garage sales and other Langley High School on Roberts Road (56 Avenue), which is now Langley Second- them. I feel I’m helping the fundraisers. ary. That was in 1948, the year of the Fraser River flood, and on grad night some community and the world at Langley Heritage Society also played key role in preserving the building. she says. of the students were called to Fort Langley to help sandbag the dykes that protected She has also been involved with Pitch-In and is volunteer chair for Pitch-In Canada. She low-lying lands. the same time.” has been involved with the Women’s Community Institute, a long-standing organization Being part of a community was in the DNA of her family home and most Wilthat is part of the Associated Country Women of the World. loughby homes. At the age of nine, she was featured in The Province newspaper’s She is chair of Langley’s Douglas Day committee, which organizes an annual Douglas Tillicum Club write-up, for her war work. Day dinner and program for longtime Langley residents, from both City and Township. She says it is one Here’s what was written: “Hard-working Tillicum Alice Johnson, RR1 Milner, does not let the fact that it of her favourite committees, and she appreciates the way both local governments co-operate to make it a is the middle of summer prevent her from amassing what looks to be a huge outsize snowball. It turns out special event. to be an enormous ball of string, which Alice has collected for the Red Cross salvage. In recent years, she has been very active in ensuring that Willoughby Community Hall has a long and “It is all solid string, which Alice has saved from feed sacks, and tied all together to make this enormous secure future. She and other members of the hall society executive have worked with the Township and ball. Athenry Developments to allow development of the property surrounding the hall. “In addition to all this war work, she has been picking berries, working for the Red Cross group in Milner, The hall will be moved, gain a proper foundation and be improved so that it has a long future ahead of it. knitting and sewing and also helping to pick vegetables. That’s a wonderful record for a nine-year-old Despite, or perhaps because of, the rapid growth in Willoughby, the hall is busier than ever. It is a prime Tillicum, isn’t it?” symbol of the rural heritage of the area, a proud heritage building in the midst of many major developWhile Johnson lived in Vancouver for some time as an adult, due to her work, she was always drawn back ments in the Yorkson area. to her family home, and it was indeed her real home. “I don’t know how I get myself into all these things. I get a lot of pleasure out of them. I feel I’m helping “Maybe the big city was too big for me,” she suggests. the community and the world at the same time. She became the first member of her family to drive, and after moving back to Langley, helped take care “I haven’t been happy with all the changes in Willoughby — I’m a bit reluctant to accept change — but of her parents. And while being part of the community was always important, it was the possibility of the old Willoughby I’m learning to live with it.”

“ ”

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Brent Malish

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t was an easy decision to make for Brent Malish. One of the most accomplished male high school basketball players ever from Langley, Malish was done his eligibility at UBC and had graduated from the Vancouver university with a bachelor of arts degree. Malish, a six-foot-six swingman with a smooth shot who was equally comfortable in the post as he was in the perimeter, thought about continuing in the game that had consumed much of his life since he was an eighth grader at Brookswood Secondary. He considered going overseas to play professionally in Europe, but opted against it. “It just didn’t feel right,” admits the 24-year-old. “My body was worn down after 10 years of playing. “It sounds weird to say you feel old at 22 years old, but I felt old.” Malish first noticed the effects of his basketball career in his fourth year at UBC when he had a partially torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) which came from simple wear and tear. Since Grade 8 at Brookswood, Malish had been a fixture on the basketball court for the Bobcats. It culminated with his senior season of high school, where he averaged 30 points and 15 rebounds per game and helped the ’Cats to a fourth-place finish at the B.C. AAA high school provincial championships in 2006. When not playing high school basketball, Malish was still kept busy. He spent three summers playing for Team BC and then in 2006 represented Canada as a member of the junior national team. And after five years at UBC, it was time to take a break. “I kind of took a step back from playing every day to playing once or twice a week max,” he said. Malish keeps his competitive juices flowing playing in men’s leagues and the occasional pick-up game. It has allowed him to try the things he had to miss, like trying snowboarding and “other things that require you to put your body on the line” and doing what he wanted on a weekend instead of having his schedule dictated by basketball. “There were a lot of constraints on my life that I didn’t necessarily like anymore,” he said. “It was great while I did it, but it came time for me to take a step back.” That’s not to say that Malish isn’t grateful for all the game and his former coaches have given him. That’s why this past summer Malish approached his former Brookswood coach and teacher Kelsey Stewart to offer his services in helping younger players hone their skills with the South Langley Titans club basket-

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ball program. Malish had done a bit of work in previous years with the players, but is ready for a larger role. “(Kelsey) was a big influence on my basketball career,” Malish said. “He was a mentor to me, he got me going. “And lots of coaches all put their time in helping me (so) I just wanted to come back and share my knowledge with the kids.” One of those coaches was UBC assistant Randy Nohr, who took a similar path to Malish — starring at Aldergrove Community Secondary, followed by UBC and then playing pro in Europe — before returning to the Lower Mainland and getting into coaching. “Staying in the game and helping kids learn the little things,” Malish said of what he wants to accomplish. He knows some of the kids in the Titans program having coached or played with their older

siblings. But most of them had no idea of his resume, such as an epic battle in his senior year of high school when Malish scored 46 points up against Rob Sacre and the Hansdworth Royals. Sacre went on to play at Gonzaga University and last June was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers. Sacre led the Royals to the B.C. title later that spring. “I will tell a story to try and make a point during a drill,” Malish said. “Little things that I remember from my playing days that relate to a drill or a skill.” Malish also hasn’t ruled out coaching, although that would likely be down the road. He currently works as a junior accountant at Malish and Clark here in Langley. He is also studying towards becoming a certified general accountant (CGA).

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ho knows what would have happened, had Carlo Corazzin not hopped his backyard fence that particular day? Behind the Corazzins’ Coquitlam home was an elementary school. And on that day, there was a jamboree happening. “I decided to jump the fence and go play,” he recalled. At the end of the jamboree, the five-year-old took home a registration form. It turned out to be a very good idea. In June, Corazzin — who turns 41 later this year — was inducted into the Canadian Soccer Hall of Fame. “I had no idea,” Corazzin admitted when the Hall told he had been nominated and subsequently chosen for induction. “I was caught off guard.” “It is very humbling,” he added. “There are a lot of people in there (and) to be mentioned in the same breath is kind of neat.” When he first got on the soccer pitch as a child Corazzin loved the game, but he never envisioned a pro career in Europe and Canada and to the Canadian Soccer Hall of Fame. He was 13 when he first thought to himself that soccer was what he wanted to do with his life, become a professional player. “I remember my mom always saying to me ‘you can do anything you want as long as you put your mind to it,’” Corazzin said. He left home for Europe at 16 and returned to Canada four years later to play for his country in their quest to qualify for their 1992 Barcelona Games. While Canada failed in that bid, Corazzin did help his country win the CONCACAF Gold Cup in 2000. Corazzin would be capped 59 times with the national team. In between his European stints, Corazzin played in Canada, first with the Winnipeg Fury — whom he helped win the Canadian Soccer League championship — and then returned to the Lower Mainland with the Vancouver 86ers. That was followed by a second stint in Europe at the age of 23 and he remained there for the next decade before returning to Vancouver to play for the Whitecaps from 2003 to 2006. “If I had one regret, it was that I probably left the game too early in Europe,” he said about his first return to Canada. “But those are the the choices that you make and you move on.”

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Living the life of a pro soccer player in Europe is best described as the scrutiny hockey players face in Canada. “Every day you are under the microscope,” he described. “If they are not talking about the game you are leading up to, you are talking about the game that just happened. “It just rolls week after week after week into one; they are always at it.” Corazzin and his wife Theresa have been in Walnut Grove since 2004. Following his retirement two years later, he coached with the Whitecaps academy, an experience he really enjoyed. He now coaches the Coquitlam Metro Ford Premier men’s team as well as his youngest son, 11-year-old Nicholas, who plays on a U12 team in the Langley United Soccer Association. He had previously coached his other son, 13-year-old CJ in soccer, but the elder of the Corazzin boys has chosen to concentrate his efforts with the Langley Minor Hockey Association. When it comes to coaching, especially the youngsters, Corazzin doesn’t flaunt his Hall of Fame status. “I just go about my stuff. I think a lot of them know I was an ex-pro, and I think that helps when you are coaching,” he said. “I try and keep it all in perspective, they are still kids. I tell everyone, including my kids, once you find your dream and what you truly love doing, it is a great thing to pursue.”

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16 | Tuesday, October 30, 2012 | Our LANGLEY Our PEOPLE | Supplement to The Langley Times

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Elizabeth & Michael Pratt

ometimes the smallest gestures can have the greatest impact. That’s how Michael Pratt felt when a solider from Afghanistan saluted him for a speech he gave at the Noel Booth Elementary Remembrance Day ceremony last year. “Mom was crying, Dad was tearing up, it was pretty overwhelming,” he said. “I didn’t really know what to do. The first thing that crossed my mind was just don’t salute him back, don’t make a fool out of yourself in front of everybody. It was incredible because you’re not doing this to get a salute like that, you’re not doing this for those kinds of reasons.” The Grade 10 student along with his older sister, Elizabeth, are the founders of Langley Youth for the Fallen, a group that has successfully created Canada’s largest tree memorial for fallen soldiers of the Afghanistan war. Once completed, The Walk to Remember grounds at Derek Doubleday Arboretum will have a cenotaph and 158 trees, mainly Canadian hawthorn maples and Afghanistan deodore cedars, commemorating each soldier who didn’t make it home. For Elizabeth, a graduate of Brookswood Secondary and fourth year student at UBC, the memorial has a very personal connection. She went to school with Private Garrett William Chidley’s younger brother, Joe. Private Chidley, who grew up in Langley and graduated from Brookswood Secondary, was killed in Afghanistan in 2009. “It was really weird, you know how they always put the faces of the fallen in the paper? Well you never expect to see someone that you actually know,” she said. “That was one of the driving forces behind the project. There was a personal connection to it, even though it was a few years ago, there’s still a connection.” A trip to Nova Scotia for the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo

was also very motivational, she added. “Many of the performers in the tattoo were members of the Canadian armed forces, and most of them were my age, maybe a bit older,” she explained. “And just to think that some of those people maybe are the ones that don’t come home. If they’re out there risking their lives, the very least my brother and I can do, and other youth can do, is to show their sacrifices.” For her brother, a trip to Normandy, France in 2010 opened his eyes to the realities of war. “We saw a lot of memorials for the Second World War soldiers, and all of them were trees,” Michael recalled. “I thought that was a very good idea, but I wanted to have that for the soldiers that have died in my lifetime that I would know of.”

After mulling over ideas for how they could commemorate, the siblings approached the Township with their Walk to Remember concept. They were ecstatic with the Township’s response: An entire park donated to the cause and a landscape architect to design the walk and cenotaph. From there, it was a matter of finding tree sponsorships. That in itself has been an humbling experience, they said. Groups such as the 3rd CAV, Canadian Army Veteran Motorcycle Units, politicians and businesses have all brought in donations for trees. Private Chidley’s grandfather has sponsored a tree as well, and attended the tree planting ceremony last year, which was a great honour, Elizabeth said. “The variety of people you get to meet with all different stories and families that didn’t make it home or did make it home — it’s really an enjoyable experience,” Michael said. “That’s the best part,” Elizabeth added. Although The Walk to Remember started as a local project, the commemoration efforts from Michael and Elizabeth have spread across the country. The Langley Youth for the Fallen Facebook Page has received tremendous feedback from spouses of fallen soldiers, most of whom live in Ontario or other parts of Canada. “We didn’t know this when we started it, but this is the only park like this in Canada that commemorates the Afghanistan fallen,” Elizabeth said. “Yes, it’s based in Langley but we think this is a great opportunity for soldier’s families from across Canada who have lost their lives to come and visit it. “We’d love to see more of an occasion of it for all of the soldiers, not just the Langley ones,” she said.

Story by MIRANDA GATHERCOLE

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Our LANGLEY Our PEOPLE | Supplement to The Langley Times | Tuesday, October 30, 2012 | 17

Cathy Gibbs

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ome of Cathy Gibbs’ most loyal and considerate friends are girls whose expectations of a fair and fruitful life became unravelled when they were plunged into the sex trade and the world of illicit drugs. She was a behind-the-scenes volunteer with Servants Anonymous Society (SAS) which, for the past 12 years, has helped more than 400 young women escape human trafficking and sexual exploitation in Metro Vancouver. The organization provides safe homes for up to seven years for the women, offers treatment and education for addiction, high school courses, peer mentoring and job readiness “I worked harder than I have ever worked at SAS,” Gibbs said. “It was both the most heartbreaking and uplifting job I have ever had, working with young women trying to escape the sex trade and drug addictions,” she said. “Most of those young girls were born into circumstances that none of us could ever imagine. They never had a chance. I met girls whose fathers and mothers had either sold them to the sex trade or gotten them involved with drugs. Who does that to their children?” Gibbs learned that once they accepted her as a friend, the girls became very protective of her. “If they asked me to go for coffee, they would insist on paying for it. They just wanted to talk and be understood.” Unfortunately, most of the young women return to the streets. “They don’t know how to cope with what we would call a ‘normal’ life. Their ‘normal’ is so far removed from what mainstream citizens consider normal.” Gibbs became involved with SAS when she worked a practicum for a course. “When I was interviewed for the position, it just felt like the perfect fit for me. I look for ways to make a difference to society and in the lives of people. I felt that I could do that there and to a degree I believe I did.”

t

Most people in Langley know Cathy Gibbs as Mary Polak’s righthand woman, and as the Langley MLA’s executive assistant, her job recently became far more intense when Polak was appointed minister of the high-profile transportation ministry. “Mine is a very interesting job,” she said. “When Mary is in the constituency, we are usually joined at the hip. I attend events with her and sit in on most of her meetings.” When Polak is out of the constituency, Gibbs represents her in the community at events. One of Gibbs’ main duties is to manage the minister’s schedule and this, she acknowledges, has become “much more challenging” since Polak entered Premier Christy Clark’s cabinet. “Oftentimes, I have to negotiate with her (Polak’s) ministry staff for her time. We try very hard to find a balance where she is in the community fulfilling her duties as the MLA and her ministry obligations.” As she oversees the daily operations of the office, she can be called

upon at any time to run errands, be a fashion consultant, counsellor, cleaner, chauffeur, editor and proofreader. The position gives Gibbs a unique perspective on politics. “Many times politicians are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. The hours are horrendous and they (and their assistants) can go for a month at a time when they don’t get a day off. These are challenging times to be in politics. Services need to be provided and infrastructure needs to be built and paid for. The public demands more and more of everything but doesn’t want to pay for it.” Politics, she notes, is extremely polarized in this province. “People are frustrated with government and politicians. I am not sure what the answer is anymore.” With such demanding roles in her life, there has to be a balance, and she finds that in the company of her sister, her daughter and granddaughter. They are the joys of her life, and the best part is when the Gibbs girls get together for a few days at her place. “Laughter, food and fun are the order of the day. We like to watch movies, shop and hang out. Did I mention eat? I love that we are all spontaneous and will jump up at the spur of the moment and hit the road, sometimes with a destination, other times with none.” She relishes the private life, but with her work schedule, it is difficult to join an organization because she never knows when she will be called upon for work issues or to attend an event. “I do like to get lost in a good novel and I read a lot. I like comedies, either movies or sit coms. During the summer, I go to my Dad’s place and help him chop wood. That is very therapeutic. My granddaughter spends her summers with me so we hang out and enjoy each other’s company. We eat what we want, when we want, stay up late, spend a day in our PJ’s and just be.”

Photo and Story by NATASHA JONES

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18 | Tuesday, October 30, 2012 | Our LANGLEY Our PEOPLE | Supplement to The Langley Times

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18 | Tuesday, October 30, 2012 | Our LANGLEY Our PEOPLE | Supplement to The Langley Times

Thank You

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20 | Tuesday, October 30, 2012 | Our LANGLEY Our PEOPLE | Supplement to The Langley Times

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Our LANGLEY Our PEOPLE | Supplement to The Langley Times | Tuesday, October 30, 2012 | 21

Chelsey Hannesson

W

hile some people have been known to picture their audience naked as a way to relax while standing before large crowds, Chelsey Hannesson takes a different approach. “I picture the entire crowd is looking down at their phones, texting,” she explained. “(Or) looking at their friends, having a conversation, not even listening to me anyways. “The minute I do that, I am fine, the jitters are gone.” Hannesson’s goal is to get the audience at the Langley Events Centre to stop what they are doing and turn their attention to her. The 24-year-old has been working at the LEC for nearly two years now, and currently serves as the facility’s in-game host. And for a sports fanatic, she couldn’t be happier. Hannesson, a Walnut Grove graduate, attended Eastern Washington University, finishing in 2010 with a degree in business management. Having worked with Eastern Washington’s athletic department — she also played on the Eagles’ soccer team and served as captain in her final three seasons —  working in that field was something which interested Hannesson. So upon her move back to Langley after graduation, she set out looking for work. “I saw this massive, beautiful building and I thought ‘I have to apply there,’” she said. “The Langley Events Centre was new to me; it wasn’t there when I left.” Initially, Hannesson would work intermissions and stoppage in plays at the Langley Rivermen games, but that role has expanded to working most of the events contested at the LEC. “It is never the same, that is what makes my job fun,” she explained. Hannesson will come up with a script for each night, well in advance, and with plenty of tweaks heading into the game. “A lot of the things we come up with …. I base it off experience from

section. But in a situation like that, or after saying the wrong thing, Hannesson said that you have to shake it off, and quick. “You are going 100 miles a minute and that is one of those things where you take five seconds, get your head right, breathe, and then you are on to the next task,” she said. “If you wanted the chance to dwell on it, you can’t, it is too busy.” And while she may be the face that fans see — out in public she commonly gets called “arena girl” — Hannesson is quick to thank the LEC’s production crew, which consists of about 15 people. She relies on the crew for honest, constructive criticism. any sporting event I have been to and what caught my eye,” she said. Hannesson also makes sure to ask lots of questions to people she meets about what they enjoy about sporting events they have attended. While it may be hard to keep her material fresh and original — the Rivermen alone have 27 home dates — can be a daunting challenge. “I like to experiment with things,” she said. “They are definitely things that I have tried and failed, didn’t get the reaction I wanted so I think how can we make this better.” “Trial and error is really what it is.” The job is not without its embarrassing moments. Last year, she committed the cardinal sin of jinxing a Rivermen goalie by asking him about his shutout bid with 20 minutes remaining during a between periods interview. Needless to say, he lost the goose egg. “I will never, ever make that mistake again,” she said. Another time during the 2011 World Junior A Challenge, Hannesson was in a section throwing out prizes between the play. She never saw a cord, and tripped and fell to the shock of the fans in that particular

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The fact she is performing in front of a live audience wouldn’t surprise those that have known Hannesson since she was little. “Dramatic would be an understatement,” she said with a laugh. As for her future as a performer, Hannesson is at a crossroads. “One of the biggest things in my life is soccer,” she explained. “If I am not at work, I am on the soccer field.” Hannesson still plays at the Premier level with Surrey United, and helped them win silver at nationals earlier this month (October). The squad was going for its second straight gold at nationals. Hannesson is also the senior staff coach for Surrey United’s female program and head coach of Surrey’s U13 squad which plays in the B.C. Premier Soccer League. “It is one of those things where I am torn between worlds,” she explained. “I absolutely love my job at the Langley Events Centre …. but whenever I am not there, I am working hard on my coaching career.”

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22 | Tuesday, October 30, 2012 | Our LANGLEY Our PEOPLE | Supplement to The Langley Times

Sylvia Anderson

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Naturalists and others. n an interview several years ago, Sylvia Anderson said that the hardest part of her work as a volunteer And then there’s nothing like travel to keep the mind and joints well-oiled. Anderson belongs to Friendwas saying no. Not even the passage of time has changed that, so that today she is as busy as ever. Slowing down isn’t ship Force International (she is the local group’s secretary), a non-profit international cultural exchange an option when you are as committed and passionate program. about helping others as she. Founded in 1977 by Wayne Smith, a Presbyterian She has, however, had to give up one gift: blood. minister and former U.S. missionary to Brazil, Until she was diagnosed with cancer several years Friendship Force allows members to take part in ago, she had been a regular blood donor, giving 121 exchanges where they stay in the private homes of units until the disease and the treatment sidelined members all over the world. that gesture. However, Anderson is still a volunteer Its purpose, Anderson said, is to promote peace at Canadian Blood Services clinics. Her mother had “one step at a time.” been a volunteer with the organization when it was Widowed for three decades, she makes family and known as the Canadian Red Cross. friends the mainstay of her life; her son, daughter, It is from her mother that she learned the value of step-daughter and four grandchildren giving her volunteering. much pride and pleasure. “My mother was always volunteering, so I guess it “I have been so lucky, especially since my husband was a family example,” said Anderson, who grew up died, to have so many friends,” she said. in Agassiz. Her husband, Ernie, was one of B.C.’s last sitting “Volunteers are fantastic people,” she said. lay judges. While her mother was responsible for It’s surprising how much fun you can have while instilling in her a passion for serving her commuthere’s a needle stuck in your arm, drawing blood. nity, the volunteer work she and Ernie undertook But that’s the way it is with Anderson and the team as members of service clubs reinforced the wish to of volunteers at local blood donor clinics. put others first. “We laugh with everyone.” Despite such a full and life, Anderson wants to After 45 years of volunteering for Canadian Blood squeeze in something new, something untried and, Services, she is not about to relax, juggling that to those who know her, out of character: She wants responsibility with a host of other volunteer jobs with to go hang gliding. the Langley Christmas Bureau, Relay for Life, Tourism “I enjoy hot air balloon rides and hang gliding would It’s surprising how much fun you can have while there’s a needle stuck in your arm, Langley, the Langley Heritage Society, the Langley Field be a new adventure.” drawing blood. But that’s the way it is with Anderson and the team of volunteers at local

blood donor clinics. “We laugh with everyone.” Photo and Story by

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Our LANGLEY Our PEOPLE | Supplement to The Langley Times | Tuesday, October 30, 2012 | 23

Frank Roberto “

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rowing up, there was little doubt in Frank Prior to getting into teaching, Roberto tried his hand at Roberto’s mind that he would one day be a professional football, suiting up in one game in 1981, While all high school sports are important — they help keep students engaged and in teacher and a coach. with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. school — Roberto likes how football can include a variety of players “There is always a mentor when you get into teaching But while pro football never panned out, Roberto’s and mine was Bob Erwin. He inspired me and was one “The game of football involves (kids of) any shape and size, of my favourite coaches in high school.” Roberto said, you can find a spot for them,”. original goal of becoming an educator and coach has sitting in his office at Langley Secondary School. turned out quite well. A quick glance around his office shows football and Roberto spent five years at Surrey’s Holy Cross hockey pictures and mementoes all over the walls, including one of his former players, Mitch Berger, who Regional High School before he came to Langley in enjoyed a 15-year NFL career and won a Super Bowl 1987 and has since made his way around the district, with Pittsburgh. rising to the rank of vice-principal. “I remember my teacher saying all the people that volunteer to help you, you make sure you go back and It began at what was Fort Langley Junior High, and help them,” Roberto said. then Walnut Grove Secondary, R.E. Mountain Second“Make sure you go back and help them and make sure ary, Aldergrove Community Secondary, H.D. Stafford you instill those core values of commitment and hard Middle School and now Langley Secondary. work and dedication. “I think all those core values are so important; if you It was at Stafford where Roberto — along with fellow instill those core values, that is going to carry them teachers Sandor Kardos and Sam Muraco —  started through life.” up the football program at Stafford (Grade 8) and LSS The 55-year-old Roberto grew up in Niagara Falls, Ont. the son of Italian immigrants. (junior varsity and varsity). While he loved hockey, the sport was too expensive While all high school sports are important — they help to play. So he showed off his athletic prowess on the keep students engaged and in school — Roberto likes basketball court — his high school teammate was Canahow football can include a variety of players. dian basketball legend Jay Triano — and the football field as a big, bruising running back. “The game of football involves (kids of) any shape and size, you can find a spot for them,” he said. Football brought Roberto west as he joined the Simon Fraser Clan team and studied to be a teacher. It was Away from work, Roberto remains active, playing men’s league hockey. also at SFU where he met his wife of 30 years, Sandra, who is a Surrey elementary school teacher. They have two children — 26-year-old Mathew, who played rep hockey in Cloverdale and 23-year-old RachPhoto and Story by GARY AHUJA elle, who played major midget female hockey.

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24 | Tuesday, October 30, 2012 | Our LANGLEY Our PEOPLE | Supplement to The Langley Times

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Mike Roberds

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e’s been shot, had furniture dropped on his head, turned into a snail and stepped on. Then there were those times he was hanged and blown up in a car. He’s even been offed with a shovel. There probably aren’t many people who have “died” as many times or in such creative ways as Mike Roberds. The Langley television and film actor, who hit most people’s radar in the late 1990s, when he was cast as Uncle Fester in The New Addams Family, has been showing up and dropping dead on screens, large and small, for the past quarter century. Roberds has made appearances in several B.C.-shot films, including Hot Tub Time Machine and Connie and Carla. He played a disgruntled cobbler elf in Will Ferrell’s hit 2004 comedy Elf. On television, meanwhile he’s had small parts in everything from AMC’s dark drama The Killing to the ABC fairy tale-based series Once Upon a Time (where he played a donkey driver who was reduced to a mollusk and crushed by an evil queen). But apart from recurring roles as a councilman on DaVinci’s City Hall and a shopping cart guy on Robson Arms, Roberds’ roles have mostly been one-offs in the 13 years since he washed the grey Fester makeup off his face for the final time and regrew his hair. And, as most actors will tell you, when the work rolls in, it comes waves. “Absolutely, I can watch a lot of TV,” said Roberds, chatting over a cup of coffee in Murrayville on a summer afternoon. “Another time, I have no time to wash clothes or buy groceries. “That’s what makes it exciting. “If you treat the career of acting as a hobby or a part time job and find another way to make a living, you’ll be happier and more successful.” To help pay the bills between gigs, Roberds writes a regular feature for TV Week magazine, giving viewers suggestions about which programs deserve their attention. He also makes a few bucks working the counter in one of the few remaining video stores in the community. Occasionally, inevitably, his worlds collide. One night the phone in the video store rang and one of his co-workers picked it up. It was a customer who’d been in earlier that evening and rented Hot Tub Time Machine, recalled Roberds, laughing as he recounts the conversation. “I know I sound crazy and I’ve been drinking a little tonight,” said the voice on the other end, “but is the

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Our LANGLEY Our PEOPLE | Supplement to The Langley Times | Tuesday, October 30, 2012 | 25

guy who rented me the movie, IN the movie?” Obviously, said Roberds, he’d like to make his living as an actor, as he did with Addams Family, but those opportunities, he’s aware, are few and far between. Almost the moment he sits down to talk, his cellphone buzzes. It’s his agent, calling to let him know he just got a role in a children’s TV show. He’ll be playing an alien. Kids programs are working out to be Roberds’ bread and butter lately. Earlier this year he played the role of Mr. Rathbone in an independent movie called The Ferret Squad, although that turned out to be quite a different experience from what the actor expected. “It’s a very political movie in that it’s got this (animal rights) agenda. I thought it was (going to be) a Home Alone kind of wacky comedy,” he said. At the other end of the spectrum, he’s played a serial killer who got his comeuppance with a shovel to the head. What he remembers most about that project, though, isn’t being brained, it was getting to deliver a great monologue. “I don’t often get those juicy, scenery-chewing kinds of scenes.” Leading men may come and go, depending on what society deems to be “IT” in any given year, but being a character actor has opened some rather unexpected doors and Roberds has happily barrelled through them. “I don’t feel like I’ve been stereotyped. I’ve played everything from a serious bad guy to the owner of a sausage restaurant,” he said. That’s not to say he’s got every part he ever wanted. “I’ve seen a million roles go by and thought, ‘I could have done that.’ It’s something he knows not to take personally. He’s learned to separate himself — Mike the person — from Mike the product. But if there was one elusive role he’d love to capture, what would it be? “I would love to be on Fringe before it ends,” he says without a moment’s hesitation. Local fans of the Fox sci-fi drama (now entering its final abbreviated season) have no doubt recognized a lot of local scenery — from Fort Langley to the Hilltop Café — on the program over the past four years. Whether he manages to land a job in one of Fringe’s parallel universes, Roberds has definitely benefitted from the migration of the film and television industry into the Valley over the past several years. His last four jobs were all shot in Langley. It’s nice to be able to film close to home, said the actor.

“It’s the first time in my career I’m not having to drive to North Vancouver.” And he’s happy the community appears to be embracing the film and television industry, as well. “They must see the financial benefits.” Unlike a lot of his fellow actors, Roberds has been content to stick close to home, never having tried to make the move to Hollywood. “I’ve known people who have gone and been successful and others who have come back with their tail between their legs,” he said. Being a bigger fish in a relatively small pond, the actor knows there are opportunities here he wouldn’t get in Los Angeles. “Here, I’m up against six or 10 other people (for a role). Down there, it would probably be more like 50.” In between gigs, Roberds continues to work on his own projects, often pairing up with friends who are or have also been in the business, though not necessarily in front of the camera. Between acting and writing, sometimes deadlines crash into each other, he said. “I’m happily burning the candle at both ends. “I’ve been doing this for 25 years, so I take things as they come. “I wish it was much more successful, but I do everything I think I can do to forward my career,” he said. “There’s been nobody around to show me how to do it. “I feel like I’m slashing through brush to get to the top of the mountain, and when I get there someone’s going to say, ‘You know there’s a staircase right there?’”

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26 | Tuesday, October 30, 2012 | Our LANGLEY Our PEOPLE | Supplement to The Langley Times

Roy Brown

F

orty years ago, members of the community decided that seniors’ housing needed to be a higher priority in Langley. They didn’t just talk about it — they did something. Roy Brown is the last remaining original board member of Langley Special Care Homes Society, which built Langley Lodge and opened it for the first residents in April, 1974. And in 2012, Brown is still involved with Langley Lodge. It is one of a number of care homes and seniors’ residences where he regularly appears as a musician, playing for residents as a volunteer. The tradition of being involved in the community is a deep one for Brown. It comes from his family, and his roots in Saskatchewan, which is widely known throughout Canada as being a place where people care deeply about their neighbours. Brown grew up in Melfort, Sask. He worked closely with his father and became an auctioneer at the age of 14, during the Second World War. At the age of 21, he became a member of the Rotary Club, which his Dad had long been part of. That Rotary connection was the catalyst that got him eventually involved in the Langley Lodge project. He moved to Langley with his family in 1967 and bought Brown’s Mobile Homes, a mobile home park and sales lot, on the Surrey-Langley border. It was located where the shopping centre now anchored by H Mart stands. He soon became an active member of the Langley Rotary Club, and in 1971 he was the president. Langley Memorial Hospital administrator Stewart Chapman called him that year, as he sought a solution to freeing up acute care hospital beds that were occupied by long-term care patients. An exploratory meeting was held and the committee agreed to do an extensive feasibility study to see what the needs were. Brown was deeply involved in the study and became

convinced that a long-term care home was needed, that it needed to be in the urban core area, and that it needed to be built up and not out. This was radical thinking in Langley City at the time, as the City was not fully developed and there were no buildings higher than three storeys. The original Langley Lodge was a six-storey building. The community rallied behind the project, and a board consisting of Brown as president, Thomas Glieg, vice-president, Tiny Taylor, secretary-treasurer and directors Kay Webb, Betty Chapman and Gordon Tout was formed. Brown insists today that he doesn’t deserve singling out — “everybody on the board was a big part of it, and so was the community. I like to be in

the background.” A big factor in the success was the commitment by developers Gerry Gales and Leon Blackmore, who made the land, formerly owned by Langley Greenhouses, available to the society. They added a lot of professional expertise to the project. Gales put the board in touch with Wally Steininger, who agreed to become the manager of the new Langley facility. Now all they needed were funds to build it. The provincial government wasn’t willing to help pay for it and couldn’t even guarantee that it would reimburse the $10 a day that residents were to pay. Four months after the Lodge opened, it reversed its position and Health Minister

Dennis Cocke agreed to have the government pay the fee. Much of the money to build the lodge came from the federal government through Canada Mortgage and Housing, but solid support from the community was vital in making it happen. A sodturning took place in February, 1973 in wet and soggy conditions, and just over a year later, the Lodge opened with 172 residents. Brown looks back on it all with some amazement. He is gratified by the solid support from the community, and he mentions Nora Bishop, president of Langley Old Age Pensioners, as being particularly helpful. He says Langley took the initiative, with senior governments

following along. Most of all, he is pleased that a serious need — to provide a place where seniors with health needs could live at an affordable rate — was fulfilled. Brown has been involved in many other community organizations. He was a member of the Langley Rotary Club until very recently, but has had to back away due to some health issues. He was instrumental in raising funds for Tristan Smith and his family, a project that was made public by former Times photographer John Gordon. He was involved in an annual radio auction through Langley radio station CJJC, and was a member of the board of the Surrey Association for the Mentally Retarded . “If somebody is in need, it doesn’t matter what it is, I just go and do it,” he says. That’s why he continues to play piano for residents at the Lodge to this day. He is also an accomplished tenor saxophone and clarinet player, and led his own band for many years. “When I have a couple of hours to spare, I like to go in and play music.” Brown and his wife Bette live in Cloverdale, and have six children, 13 grandchildren and five greatgrandchildren.

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Our LANGLEY Our PEOPLE | Supplement to The Langley Times | Tuesday, October 30, 2012 | 27

T

Todd Hauptman

odd Hauptman has three kidneys. But that isn’t the only thing that makes this 26-year-old organ transplant recipient and community activist unique. It was at the young age of 14, when most teens his age are playing video games and hanging out, that Hauptman stepped into the Langley political scene, wanting to make a difference. Since that day he has never stopped, marching on to give youth a voice in local government, launching a campaign to stop the human trafficking of young girls - a passion he continues to fight for today while still political, taking a position as Langley MLA Mary Polak’s social media manager. The recently-appointed transportation minister has asked Hauptman to be her campaign manager for next year’s provincial election. It’s hard to imagine that it was only in 2010 he was on the brink of death, in a drug-induced coma after he suffered several seizures, triggered by a massive build-up of toxins. His kidneys were failing and only a transplant would save him. That’s where Tanya Tait, Langley MP Mark Warawa’s assistant came in to save his life. She gave him one of her kidneys. “I remember this 14-year-old kid came in at campaign time and said to me “I want to learn everything you do,” said Tait, about the first time she met Hauptman. She was working for then-Langley MP Randy White. “I got him to stuff envelopes. He stuffed over 1,400 in two days. It showed me he was serious about getting involved.” So began a friendship where Tait has seen the eager and talkative teen grow into a caring man, whose heart is always in the right place, but whose kidneys were horrible to him. “I feel like he is one of my kids,” she said about Hauptman. She has no regrets and the transplant has brought the pair even closer. They most recently were the honourees at the Kidney Walk in Surrey this summer. Hauptman has taken on a larger role with

the B.C. Transplant Society to promote the importance of being an organ donor. The second chance at life has opened up a whole world of opportunity for Hauptman, who had Tait’s kidney placed in his abdomen. His two other kidneys remain in place. “There is no question in my mind that I want to do bigger things — not just in  Langley.” Since walking into White’s campaign office, he’s gone on to serve on several federal election campaigns and create the Langley Youth Advisory Committee. He’s been involved in a number of charity events is well-known in the community for all his efforts. His most recent passion is to stop human trafficking, working with Tara Teng. He has spoken at Langley schools, to the school board and to every politician he sees, to bring the plight of young girls being trafficked both internationally and right here in Langley. By the end of 2013, he should also be graduating from university with a political science degree and a minor in communications. His dream job in the future is doing communication work for an NGO like World Vision. “I sincerely want to be in a place where I can impact people’s lives for the better.” Asked if he will ever run for office himself, and he said only if the timing is right. “Politicians get distracted from the main reason most people run, which is to help better the world around them. If I ran, it would be me giving it 100 per cent for all the right reasons,” he said.

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Our LANGLEY Our PEOPLE | Supplement to The Langley Times | Tuesday, October 30, 2012 | 29

Troy Gaglardi “

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angley’s Troy Gaglardi has had a calling to help others his whole life. Since the opening of Lang“I’ve had almost everything stolen. I’ve been lied to, manipulated, punched in the face, ley’s Gateway of Hope homeless shelter, he has had a knife and the barrel of a gun pulled on me,” said Gaglardi. “I’ve been in some been director of operations, overseeing the extremely busy facility that not only houses the homeless, but crazy circumstances, but God always has a plan.” feeds 40,000 meals a year to members of the community. On top of that, the Salvation Army facility offers job training and life skills programs and transitional housing for those ready to make it on their own. The shelter operates on an annual budget of $2 million nently. A woman who lived on the streets of the Downtown Eastside, in and out a year and there is around 60 staff. of jail, is now completing the cook’s training program and is living a changed But it’s the people who come through those doors who make his whole job worth person in their transitional housing. going to each day. “She makes this all worthwhile,” he said. “All of us have amazing potential, we sometimes just a need a little help realizing Before working with the Salvation Army, Gaglardi was hired to oversee Langit,” said Gaglardi. ley’s Christian Life Assembly’s advocacy program. Its focus was caring with He said working at the Gateway of Hope and hearing the personal stories from no strings attached, he said. He changed the name to Acts of Kindness those who use the shelter, it shows that we can’t stereotype who are Langley’s and the busy aid program has five staff now. homeless.

“If we can get past the immediate, so many people have amazing character. Not everyone is drug-addicted or made bad choices. Sometimes it’s circumstances. You know, if we think about it, a lot of us are two paycheques away from being homeless.” But even those who have made bad choices are still human beings, deserved of love, he stresses. As an ordained minister with nearly 20 years experience in street ministry, counselling and prison ministry, helping those in need is his calling. He said he’s worked with murderers, one of Canada’s top 10 most wanted and there are many who, despite their awful ways, can change. “I’ve had almost everything stolen. I’ve been lied to, manipulated, punched in the face, had a knife and the barrel of a gun pulled on me,” said Gaglardi. “I’ve been in some crazy circumstances, but God always has a plan.” The local motorcycle enthusiast says the reward is seeing lives change perma-

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30 | Tuesday, October 30, 2012 | Our LANGLEY Our PEOPLE | Supplement to The Langley Times

Believe to Achieve

By Kate Richardson

Straightforward, knowledgeable and hardworking. Danny Evans has built solid success in the real estate business by taking care of business basics: customer service and persistent effort. Ranked number one in Western Canada and number three in the whole country for Homelife Benchmark Realty. Danny says he has never lost sight of the “bread and butter” of the industry, focusing on homeowners’ best interests. The second youngest of eight children growing up in Vancouver and Surrey, the son of a longshoreman and homemaker, Danny learned early the value of hard work and self-sufficiency. While attending university, he juggled a variety of jobs including gas station attendant, deep-sea fishing, industrial firstaid attendant as a longshoreman and a switchman for CN Rail, all to pay for his education, “I learned to be independent quickly,” Danny says, “and I found that I could do anything I wanted if I was prepared to work for it.” One of the pivotal moments in Danny’s early life happened when his family bought their first house. To eight-year-old Danny, the event was life changing. “It had a huge impact on me,” Danny says, “I thought I was so lucky to have a house with a basement and, since then, I have always appreciated what I have. It also sparked a lifelong interest in real estate.” That interest carried through until Danny bought his first home in 1973. He was still in university, paying for his own education as well as his house. Danny became a physical education teacher in Kelowna after graduating from university, but real estate continued to beckon. A good friend from high school, Colin Dreyer, had become a successful real estate agent and frequently encouraged Danny to follow his dream. A billboard on Danny’s daily route showing a successful real estate agent played on his mind. Finally, Danny decided that if he put in as many hours as a real estate agent as he did as a teacher, he would succeed. He obtained his license in June 1979 and sold his first home on July 29, 1979, the day his first son Dean was born. Danny moved to Langley in 1980 to join Wolstencroft Realty. Many agents then moved to form Homelife Benchmark Realty and they became a formidable force in the Langley real estate market. Danny has stayed with the company because of its two-pronged approach to being the best in the industry: the company uses up-to-date technology to help facilitate old-fashioned top-notch service for the customer. When Danny entered real estate, the market was booming. As the market leveled off, however, Danny began to learn the skills and develop the deep understanding of the business that would create his long-term success. He realized that, while almost anything goes

in a hot market, people tend to be choosier as the market slows. But Danny had found what he loved to do and the difficult market only made him better. In fact, he developed a reputation for bold ideas when he took on a large development and sold it out when the market was completely stagnant. The media attention launched his business at a time when many agents were being forced to find other work. Danny thrives on the competitive nature of the industry and enjoys educating his customers on how to make the best decisions for their future. “An agent’s knowledge of real estate, negotiating skills and intuitiveness based on experience helps him provide the best advice possible to clients,” Danny explains. “I explain clearly, as many times as it takes, to help the client understand what is happening and the consequences of any decisions they might make. By adopting an attitude of doing what is best for the client - which may mean not making the sale right away - I can often create a situation that helps the client do better on price, terms and conditions.” For instance, Danny says he focuses on creating simple transactions that focus on price, not inclusions. He tries to package items such as appliances, drapes and even garden equipment in the transaction so both sides need to make only one decision. “I don’t want to become a lawnmower salesman on a $500,000 home.” he explains. “After seeing transactions go sideways because someone did or did not want a refrigerator, I decided to work with my clients to help them see the whole picture and create a one-choice transaction based on price. I recognize that it’s an emotional decision to part with a house that has almost become a family member. That’s when people often make bad decisions. And it’s my job as an agent to help them avoid those types of decisions, create a simple choice and focus on what’s best for all concerned.” Danny uses the same thorough, well thought out approach when working with sellers to prepare their homes for the market. To get the house in the best

possible condition to sell, he advises homeowners on ways to get their home as close as possible to “show home” condition. From curb appeal to the front door, from fresh paint to clutter removal, from yard cleanup to new light bulbs, Danny shows his clients how to get their house in pristine condition. While he is sensitive to homeowners’ feelings about the comfortable look of their home, he is direct about the advantage of getting $10 back for every dollar spent on the house looking the best it can. Danny’s business is focused in Langley, where his market specialty is residential dwellings, including condominiums, town houses, 200-lot subdivisions and large acreages. He has become known for his ability to find buyers for even hard-to-sell properties, by using his bold and creative marketing ideas. His properties have high internet prominence and include virtual tours. He advertises in the Real Estate Book, a colourful brochure circulated in North America on the Internet. He does consistent but simple mail-outs that keep his name in front of people. He creates extensive listing information with full explanations and many pictures that help potential buyers get a clear understanding of the home’s features. And with all his marketing, he includes his full name, picture and an offer of a free evaluation. “My brand is simple but effective,” Danny explains. Danny is supported by a network of professionals that he has developed over the years. If his clients need advice from a mortgage broker, home inspector or lawyer. Danny can fill the bill. He is also supported by his two assistants. They keep the transactions smooth, develop materials and keep clients updated, allowing Danny to focus on what he is best at, helping his clients. Danny’s advice to new agents reflects his own background and development into a successful real estate agent. “Become an expert in an area you like and reach out to top people as mentors,” he advises. “Be prepared to critically analyze yourself and make a personal decision to change one habit or trait that will make you a better person.” Danny enjoys mentoring other agents and shares his knowledge and experience openly and honestly. He truly believes that people can have what they want if they are willing to work for it. “Always be prepared to put in more than you take out.” he says. Married with four children, Danny works hard to create the same tight bonds that he felt growing up in his large family. He has devoted many hours to coaching soccer, baseball and basketball, but generally tries to limit the number of outside activities so he can spend time with his family. Most of all, he is a role model for his children because he loves what he does and is inspired every day by the opportunity to help his clients. “I tell my kids every day, ‘Make it a great day!”

DANNY EVANS • 604-649-1067 www.dannyevans.ca


Our LANGLEY Our PEOPLE | Supplement to The Langley Times | Tuesday, October 30, 2012 | 31

Diane Gendron

T

he first time Diane Gendron stepped onto a stage to perform she was just three years old. She was dressed as Christopher Robin and singing a song from Winnie the Pooh. “I remember the whole experience. I remember learning the song at home,” said the Langley actress, model and musician. Her mother was a voice and piano teacher from the 1950s to the 1980s, so perhaps Gendron was destined for the stage. She certainly seemed to gravitate toward it, at any rate. Gendron moved from childhood roles to the high school stage at LSS and then on to the community theatre scene. She soon began modeling, singing and playing bass guitar. But it was acting that provided an anchor for

her during a decade of change. After she married, Gendron moved no fewer than 12 times over a 10-year period, and in each new town, she found her niche by seeking out other performers. “(Acting) gave me the opportunity to walk into a community and the first thing I would do is join the theatre group.” Regardless of whether she was in Quesnel, Victoria or Port Alberni, the local playhouse was invariably filled with interesting, creative people who welcomed her with open arms. “Whether they’re acting, producing or coming up with a design for the poster, they’re finding a level of satisfaction (in their work) and that makes them nice to be around,” she said. “And I always got a part, which was exciting.” While living in Port Alberni, Gendron decided to organize a revue. “I thought, we need to put on a show, there is so much talent and only so many people get to be involved in a play.” Some people danced, others recited poetry by Robert Service. “It was great. It went on for two nights,” said Gendron. The actress took a 20-year break from theatre while she raised two children as a single mother and focused on a demanding career in communications. As she was preparing to retire, she returned to Langley and began pondering her future. “I thought, ‘What have I missed doing? What have I done that I really enjoy doing?’” One day in 1999, while driving past the Langley Playhouse on 200 Street, she noticed noticed an

announcement for auditions on the marquee. “I saw, ‘Oh, that’s today.’ I drove in and I got a part.” The play was a comedy called Par for the Corpse and it was the first of four productions Gendron has done with the Langley Players to date. Since then, she has worked with the now-dissolved Murrayville Performers as well as Surrey Little Theatre. Last August she received a gold medal in the best actress category at the BC Seniors’ Games for her role in the play entered by Langley’s Centre Stage Players (a seniors performance group). Recently Gendron was named president of Bard in the Valley and she sits as the theatre representative on the Langley Arts Council board. Created by Allan Thain, who has since moved from Langley, Bard in the Valley brings Shakespeare to Douglas Park each summer. “It’s quite an amazing thing that Allan has created here,” she said. “There are no paid participants in these productions,” explained Gendron, who produced last summer’s comedy — Twelfth Night. “Everybody really is doing it because they love doing it.” And she’s not just speaking about the people the audience sees. “It has come home to me in the last three years that there are many non-stage roles to play in the theatre,” Gendron said — whether acting, building sets, sewing costumes or getting the word out about the production. Being at the helm of all that is a challenge she’s embraced.

“It’s a lot of work producing a show but there’s a lot of satisfaction in it.” Although she has no desire to direct, Gendron cannot help but admire those who do. “I marvel at their patience and their terrific ideas, that they can draw so much out of an actor and a script.” At the same time, she isn’t limiting herself. “Stretching is good — doing a bit of all different kinds of things,” she said. When her band needed a bass guitar, for example, Gendron was game to give it a try, even though she’d never played the instrument. “I hung it around my neck and immediately turned and bashed one end into the wall and then the other,” she laughed. Outside the theatre, she keeps busy traveling, reading, gardening, singing and playing in a band, but Gendron’s concern is that women over 40 aren’t being given the respect they deserve — being underrepresented in television, movies and the media. “It offends me when magazines come out — even magazines geared to older women — and they’re still using 19-year-olds in the ads,” she said. “I modeled in three fashion shows at the West Coast Women’s Show at Tradex (recently) and I was reminded of why doing fashion shows is one of my favourite gigs,” said Gendron. “As usual, after every show, older women come up to me and say they are so glad to see someone their age on the runway representing them. They feel as though they’ve been recognized personally. I like that role.”

Story by BRENDA ANDERSON

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32 | Tuesday, October 30, 2012 | Our LANGLEY Our PEOPLE | Supplement to The Langley Times

Kim Snow

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f we all took a page from Kim Snow’s life book, this world would be a better place to live. The energetic and contagiously fun-loving hair salon owner has been behind the scenes helping moms and families in need for 13 years in Langley. Quietly and without fanfare, Snow has been donating thousands of hours, food and goods to Langley moms, babies and children with the help of a dedicated group of community volunteers she calls her “Angels.” Her philosophy is simple: We can all make a difference if we give, even if it’s just a little. Snow is busy as the owner of Hair and Body Image Salon, but volunteers every other minute to making sure families in need are taken care of, often hand delivering furniture or diapers and formula. “I don’t like giving cheques to the big organizations because, for me, it feels like by the time it gets filtered down to the people in need, it’s been dwindled down,” she said. “If someone in Langley gives me a can of soup, I’m going to get it directly to a Langley person who needs that can of soup.” All the community groups, schools and churches know Kim and her Angels. Like sending out the Batman signal, Snow will receive a call from Southgate Church or from Best Babies, asking for a spe“I can tell you most of these women want to do everything cific family’s needs to be filled. From there, she will go to work, in their power to make a better life for their children, no matter calling on her angels throughout how difficult that can be,” she said.. Langley. Some of her angels include the

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Township mayor and his wife, other Township staff, RCMP officers, paramedics and owners of local companies who are known to drop everything to help, she said. “We are so blessed in life and not everyone gets to be so lucky,” she said. “We can all make time to make a difference. I am happy and I want to make others happy.” Hand delivering items to moms and seeing how grateful they are and meeting their kids, it just invigorates her to do more. “I think too many people have these stereotypes that these people are drug addicts or they’ve made bad choices,” she said. “I can tell you most of these women want to do everything in their power to make a better life for their children, no matter how difficult that can be.” Snow is also trying to make sure no student goes to class hungry in Langley. She is in regular contact with principals at several schools to make sure the needs of struggling students are being met. “No child should go to school hungry,” she said passionately. She is always willing to take donations of lunch food for kids, like granola bars, juice boxes and soup cups, which she brings weekly to schools like Langley Secondary and Walnut Grove. She’s been working with Douglas Park Community School in Langley City in the hot lunch program for some time, meeting with many moms there. Her Good Samaritan work began when her own son was going to elementary school and she was the PAC president at Murrayville Elementary. A child got cancer and she rallied the school to help the family out. The outpouring of support was inspirational — and she’s been hooked on helping ever since, she explains. Recently, she got one of her “angels” to take a half day off work so he could pick up a donated couch and drop it off to a single mom trying to make a new start with her grown son. Snow managed to furnish the apartment and supply the family with all new kitchen items, courtesy of her angels. Sometimes she just puts out a request on Facebook, and the donations just start rolling in, she said. The same day she delivers furniture or diapers, she could be found running to Costco to pick up enough chicken to make 60 meals for Best Babies cooking class at Douglas Recreation Centre. Snow tries to supply the program with food as much as she can. If you want to be one of Kim’s angels, email: kimzangels@hotmail.ca.

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Our LANGLEY Our PEOPLE | Supplement to The Langley Times | Tuesday, October 30, 2012 | 33

Peter Luongo

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hances are, you’ve heard him play. Leading a chorus of strumming four-strings, the unmistakable ping of the ukulele has become synonymous with Peter Luongo. For more than three decades he has taught music to students in Langley, and through the Langley Ukulele Ensemble honour group, has been able to share his passion with audiences across the world. From Hawaii to New York, Halifax and Japan, thousands have enjoyed the harmonious choir voices and upbeat melodies of local high school students, putting Langley on the map as the ukulele capital of Canada. But what many don’t know is that Langley’s ukulele man did not start his musical path with a ukulele. As a child he played the accordion. “My father had always wanted the opportunity to make music part of his life, and in the time that he grew up his family simply could not afford to give him that opportunity,” Luongo said. “I know that he always dreamed that his children would have the opportunities he didn’t have, and number one amongst those opportunities was to be involved in music.” At the age of seven Luongo’s father asked him if he would like to take accordion lessons. From there the instrument quickly became a centrepiece of his family life growing up in East Vancouver. “My father used to sit and listen to me play and practise every night,” Luongo fondly recalled. “He could have been playing cards or hanging out with the boys, but he would listen for hours to me practise. “He would sing folk songs that he loved and he’d want me to play along. So I would play and he would say, ‘no that’s the wrong note,’ and I would say, ‘sing it better’ and he’d say, ‘no I’m singing it just fine,’” Luongo laughed. “He would carry the beat, he loved to dance. And he would just move with the music and sing with passion as I would play the folk songs.” Luongo and his brother, who played the drums, spent most of their weekends playing at Italian weddings or in a band at an Italian cabaret restaurant. Every night their dad was there to cheer them on. “He’d say to my mom, ‘I’m going to go out and look after the boys,’” Luongo said, “but he had as much fun as anyone there. He would get up and dance and enjoy every bit of music that we would play.” The accordion helped Luongo pay for school, buy his first car and buy his first house. But the ukulele helped him launch his career. It was love at first strum when Luongo first picked up a uke in a classrooms instruments course at the University of British Columbia. Though he signed up for the course out of requirement, he quickly discovered the benefits the little Hawaiian instrument could have. “The sheer ability and the simplicity of being able to teach music to anybody is with the ukulele,” Luongo said. “In every aspect of music, from singing, note reading, to ear playing, chording, chordal accompaniment, all of that is so accessible through the ukulele.” Admittedly, music did not come naturally to Luongo. “I had to really work at developing it,” he said. “I didn’t have the natural ability, the natural sort of inclination that my dad had — my brother got that. Anything I got from music I had to really work for.” It paid off. Upon recommendation from his university professor, Luongo was hired by the Langley School District shortly after graduating from UBC. In 1979 he took up his first position at West Langley Elementary School, and began to teach music. “I was very fortunate because I had a group of students in that very first classroom who not only wanted to learn music, but they were able,” he said. “They were really good, young musicians. I just went in and taught and they learned.” The R.E. Mountain Dry Grad for the 2012 graduating class He began to volunteer with the Langley Ukulele Ensemble, then a small gathering of ukulele students, and was a great success with over 120 students in attendance. just one year later found himself in charge of the group. At that point he made a promise to his students that The Dry Grad committee would like to thank the following within five years they would be performing in Hawaii. sponsors who supported and made this event possible. He kept that promise, and continues to take his students there every year. “That sense of being successful in teaching these kids music felt really good,” Luongo said. “And then to have Abbotsford Heat El Taco Restaurant Mozart Bakery & Café them go perform and bring a sense of joy, a sense of confidence in today’s youth also felt good because my Hockey team Envision Financial Mr. Mikes experience with the students I taught everyday was positive. Here was a chance to show the community and Anca’s Bridal -Willoughby Otter Co-Op the surrounding region that we really had some wonderful young people in Langley.” Anne Wilson - RE/MAX Euphoria Chocolates Performance Water Sports Avon-Cora Rossi Eurobronze Tanning Petro Canada The world took note. Awesome Blossoms Everything But The Groom Red Robin’s Restaurant Over the past 30 years the group has built up a reputation as one of the best ukulele ensembles in the world. B&B Contracting Flying Wedge Pizza Redwoods Golf Course “There are groups all over the world that perform, that play, that take the ukulele and perform with it — BC Hot House Finning RJMB Restaurants Ltd there’s just not any as good as these kids,” Luongo said. Foods Ltd. Fox & Fiddle Pub (McDonalds Restaurants) The most noteworthy group in comparison is the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, an adult group that BCAA Langley Fresh Blooms Save On Foods performs and teaches ukulele vocationally. Blankstein (Dentist) Geo Media Sears “That’s not what we are,” Luongo said. “Our group is students who are going to come and go. We’re made up Bootlegger iGig Entertainment Shopper Drug Mart Boathouse Island Tan - Langley - Walnut Grove of young people who have aspirations to become doctors, lawyers, teachers or even pipe fitters.” Cara Restaurants Jordans Carpets Starbucks But that’s not say the group hasn’t produced many talented musicians who have gone on to perform profesCedar Rim Nursery & Flooring Terus Construction sionally. CH2M Hill Langley Gymnastics Tetra Tech One such member was James Hill, a Belmont Elementary student who is now arguably the finest ukulele Champers Hair Salon Langley Rivermen University Printers player in the world, Luongo said. Chevron Largo Apparel Valley Driving School “It’s really gratifying to be able to show the best that young people have to offer,” he said. “In my field of music Ciniplex Colossus Le Chateau Walnut Grove and music education, this was something that I felt I could motivate and inspire children to develop their skill. Coast Capital Savings Merle Norman Flower Care “In the process, I didn’t realize that it would bring notoriety to the community, I didn’t realize it would have Darnell & Company (Willowbrook Mall) Wholesale Sports DeDutch Michael’s Fine the impact that it’s had internationally and nationally. But it feels good to know that in places as far away as Dr Fulton Photography New York and Hawaii and Nova Scotia, when you talk about the ukulele people can connect the dots and say Dr. Alan Irving Langley Mobil 1 Lube Express ‘yeah! I’ve heard of this group, they’re really good.’ So it’s been really gratifying to be able to see what it has Sports & Rehab Moores Clothing for Men become over those three decades.” Today the group performs more than 50 times a year in countries all around the world. For Luongo, this is Plus we would also like to thank all of the parents that were involved in the on top of his full time position as principle at Gordon Greenwood Elementary (he has taught at nine different coordination and operation of the event. Without community-minded schools in Langley), directing his church choir, working on his latest Langley Has Talent campaign to have a companies and people like you, this event never would have been possible. performing arts centre built in Langley, and, of course, living life as a father and a son. “I don’t sleep a lot,” he laughed. ”But really, I think each of us asks what defines us, what will my legacy be? And I’ve always maintained that I wanted to leave every situation I’m involved with better than when I came. And so really I’m hoping that through that attitude, that community-minded attitude that I have combined with that feeling of leaving everything better off than when I got there, that will be my legacy that I will leave Langley.”

Photo by NATASHA JONES. Story by MIRANDA GATHERCOLE


Our Our Thanks Thanks

34 | Tuesday, October 30, 2012 | Our LANGLEY Our PEOPLE | Supplement to The Langley Times

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Our LANGLEY Our PEOPLE | Supplement to The Langley Times | Tuesday, October 30, 2012 | 35

needed any help. — Castron is the picture of contentment. They immediately put her on the front desk and she has been a fixture at the bureau The nicely trimmed lawn is framed by lush perennials, many still blooming in ever since. vibrant purples and reds. In one corner, her own garden gate leads onto an all“I love Christmas,” says Castron who, along with her twin brother, celebrates her but-deserted side street. The added joy birthday on Dec. 24. Geoffrey Chaucer, her enormous adopted cat (a Maine Coon, she believes) wanders by occasionally for a scratch. of helping 850 Langley families “It’s a joyful time for me. It always has been.” The added joy of helping 850 Langley families — including 1,500 children — have a “I must tell you, I lead a good life,” she says with a smile. — including 1,500 children — memorable holiday is just the icing on the sugar cookie. And it’s clear that she does. Work begins in earnest each Nov. 1, but really, it’s a year-round role that she’s playing, But what would all that happiness amount to if she couldn’t share it? have a memorable Castron explains. For the Langley City wife and mother of two grown daughters, volunteering is holiday is just the No matter the season, when she runs into Christmas Bureau volunteers around town a key part of belonging to a community, whether she’s out on the front line or they are always eager to get started. quietly working behind the scenes. icing on the sugar cookie. She replies to emails all year round as well, fielding questions about donations, volunAnd to anyone involved with Communities in Bloom, the Langley Christmas Bureau or a host of other volunteer-run organizations, hers is a familiar face. teer opportunities and registration. In 2003, Castron began volunteering with CIB — a garden contest that pits towns With so much going on and such a picturesque place to hang her gardening hat and of comparable size — across the province, the country and around the world — against one another in a gloves, it’s a mystery why Castron would ever choose to leave home. friendly competition, to determine who will get bragging rights in the coming year. But she does. Quite regularly, in fact. Judging and co-ordinating garden tours gave Castron the opportunity to not only sneak a peek behind some Five years ago, Castron and two of her friends co-founded Travels Abroad, a women’s only travel group, of those gates but to reward the effort that went into creating beautifully landscaped yards. which they have since led to England, France, Italy, Croatia and New York City. “It’s so important to say ‘well done.’ And for them to be acknowledged — it’s wonderful,” she says. The idea for the group sprang up from discussions about past trips. The City, having achieved top honours in international competition in 2007, withdrew from the annual “A girlfriend and I have traveled quite a bit over the years,” explains Castron. contest, but that departure wasn’t the end of Castron’s volunteer work. Far from it. “We spent more time talking about our travels and people began asking to come. We thought, ‘Why not?’” Today, she sits on the parks foundation board and the Langley Arts Council. She also co-ordinates a lantern At first, it was mostly friends and acquaintances who joined the women on their adventures, but as word festival — featuring the craftwork of students and seniors — which began only last year. got out, Travels Abroad went international. In late September, they took a group of American women, who On Tuesdays, she can be found cleaning headstones in Langley’s heritage cemeteries — work she uses to contacted them through their website, to Paris. glean information for her work in genealogy. Each trip lasts between two and three weeks and in addition to seeing the expected sights, the women try “There’s a lot of info on a tombstone — where they’re from, their maiden name,” she explains. to offer one or two entirely unique experiences and get a sense of the people whose homeland they are Because she’s there is something of an official capacity, Castron says she often finds herself helping a visivisiting. “Everywhere we go, we make a connection. I will talk to anybody. I love that about (travel),” says Castron. tor locate a particular grave or just lending an ear while they talk about the person they’ve lost. “That’s the big part of travel, is talking to other people and learning how they live.” But her great passion— and the place where most people know her from — is the Langley Christmas And if they’re living half as well as Castron, well, they’re doing all right. Bureau, where she has volunteered for the past 13 years and now serves as co-coordinator. Walking past the Christmas Bureau’s base of operations one year, she decided to pop in and see if they Photo and Story by

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BRENDA ANDERSON

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