By Leah Blain
Rod Haddad spent 35 years working for BC Hydro. They were good years and his career gave him an opportunity to appreciate many areas of the province.
“I started in 1964 in Mara. From Mara I moved to Prince George, then to Terrace, Prince Rupert and then Salmon Arm. Then we moved to Chetwynd, Clearwater, Burns Lake, 100 Mile House and then back to Salmon Arm. I managed to work it out so that I could come here to retire.”
Retirement only meant the he was finished work, but the friendships continued. Once a month the local retired BC Hydro employees, BC Hydro Power Pioneers, get together for lunch. It’s about socializing and keeping in touch, said Rod, but, in a way, they use the time to continue learning and giving back to the community.
“We try to have a guest speaker every month. This month I’ve got a driver instructor coming. In May we’ve got someone coming to talk about recycling. I’ve got someone lined up every month until Christmas.”
Around that time the group’s focus transforms into a high-voltage focus of giving and Rod is clearly proud of their track record.
“We (the Power Pioneers) started doing food hampers about 20 years ago. The BC Hydro office used to do it and they asked us if we could take it over. It transitioned from from them to us.”
They chose, all those years ago, that the local women’s shelter would be their focus.
“It’s probably where the people needed the most help.”
The women’s shelters in Revelstoke and Salmon Arm would give the group a letter describing the age of the mother and children along with their sizes and what they would like.
“The group is so generous, it would blow your mind. They bought so much stuff. If one kid wanted pyjamas, they all got pyjamas. We had some members who really did enjoy going out to buy stuff. One year we heard there was a lady who liked arts and crafts – she got a lot of stuff.”
This past Christmas was a little different. Together with BC Hydro District staff in Salmon Arm and Revelstoke and Glenn Powers Contractors, they donated cash.
“Our members are older and it was taking a lot of space and work to put them together so we decided to go with cash and gift certificates. We raised $1,610 for the Salmon Arm Women’s Shelter and $805 for the Revelstoke Women’s Shelter. We didn’t do any fundraising, it was just out of their pockets.”
Although the winter season is gone the memory of their Christmas giving is still strong for Rod.
“It goes to the heart, it really does. It gives you a good feeling to help other people.”