Meet the Mayor
August 19, 2015
One hundred one years less a couple of weeks. That’s a long time to live and love in our home town, but those are the years during which Albert Flett has blessed our extended community. I know that most of you didn’t know him; a few were acquainted; many knew and loved him well.
It has been only the last few years that Albert was not regularly seen driving his truck about town, always cheerful, always helpful, always with his wife, Pauline. If you saw Albert you were sure to see Pauline. They were inseparable. I would see them and to myself I would say, “That’s awesome. A couple that have been together for half a century and are still together setting the bar of caring and compassion for us in the next generation – that’s the way it should be.”
Now that they are both gone, how should they be remembered? Is there something that their home town can do to ensure that the memory of Albert and Pauline is cherished still by the next generation? And the next?
After all, it’s not every town that can boast a centenarian. And not just a centenarian, but a veteran of our struggle to maintain freedom from tyranny in a frequently hostile world.
Albert served with distinction in the Canadian Armed Services World War II Europe. In 1943 he met King George VI, the Queen, and then Princess Elizabeth. As a decorated veteran, following the War, Albert made his way to Chetwynd and has lived here most of the years since. Following Pauline’s death in 2011, Albert lived temporarily in Kelowna but missing his home town, he returned to spend his remaining days with his life-time friends.
It’s a rich life we have here in the Peace with rodeos, hunting, wilderness adventures, and friends. Albert was a great lover of rodeos and attended every event in the Peace. He and Pauline supported the Pine Valley Seniors and the Tansi Friendship Centre.
A strong contributor to the economy of our community, Albert shared work experiences with Paul Demeulemeester, Farmer Grant, Jim Grant, and Wally Gayse Senior. It was a good life to which Albert contributed with gusto.
So let’s get back to my question. How should they be remembered? We have memorialized others with place names and roadway names. When we drive to Prince George we use the John Hart Highway; when we visit Tumbler Ridge we are likely to travel on the Don Philips Way. When we return we come home to Chetwynd – all names of people.
But these were great people, you protest.
True – in a sense.
I seem to remember an ancient wisdom that warned that the last could end up first and the first last. Maybe it is time we remembered two of those whose humility would not pet them push themselves into the limelight but who, in their own way made this town a much better place for the rest of us.
Merlin Nichols, Mayor