Heroes Drink Coffee Too – People of Campbell River – Part 1

In celebration of Giving Tuesday Canada, Destination Campbell River partnered with Erin Wallis – local photographer, story-teller and all-around good “Riverite” herself – to highlight some of Campbell River’s unsung heroes. Here is installment 1 of 5, to make your heart smile and think about the world in a different light. 

Erin Wallis ;

What makes a place special?  Is it the scenery, the restaurants, the recreation, the hikes, the beaches?  Perhaps yes to all of those things, but what about the “vibe” of a place?  You’ll know what I mean, as you can walk into the most beautiful store carrying the the most sought after goods, and if the human behind the counter wears a scowl on their face, treats you coldly or gives off the wrong energy, you may be tempted to not enter that store again.  A city is the same.

Yes, Campbell River is engulfed in fresh coastal air, visited by breaching whales, playful dolphins, hiking trails for as far as the eye can see, little shops, theatre groups and a rich indigenous culture. But what makes it so special to so many people is the sense of community and connectedness of the inhabitants.  What makes a community strong, is the amazing people who do so much, for so little in return.  Their gifts can often go unrecognized and I wanted to spend a bit of time exploring and sharing what makes these next 5 human beings so special and why it makes Campbell River a more desirable place to be, to live and to visit.

Chris Fawbert

I was inspired to tell these stories starting with this fella, Chris Fawbert,  owner of the Java Shack for the past 19 years.  Every school day, he brings extra lunches to children at a local school. The families he helps don’t know where it’s coming from, nor does he care to be thanked for it.  (I found out about what he was doing and it actually inspired this entire series).  Here’s a guy who not only makes his own 7 year old daughter her lunch every day, but who also chooses to make 3 other healthy lunches a day. His original inspiration for doing this came about organically; he got a phone call from school one day that his daughter had no lunch at school (it was forgotten).  He quickly put together a lunch for her and delivered it to her school, and by the time he arrived her grandma had delivered her lunch too, so she had extra. She happily shared both lunches with her friends.

It got him thinking about how easy it was for him to make an extra lunch. He is prepping food daily anyways, and he said it was an easy thing for him to do. When I asked him why he does it, he said, “because it’s an easy thing for me to do, and if I can do it, why not? These kids aren’t really getting it from any other source.” He spoke about fairness, “it’s just not fair. It’s not fair that my daughter gets healthy lunches and they don’t.” He also mentioned, “setting an example to show my daughter that helping someone in a seemingly small way, can make a big difference to that person’s life, as well as the importance of simply caring enough to give freely.” What I loved so much about this story, is that if I hadn’t found out about him doing this, he would have never EVER asked for any appreciation or acknowledgement about it.  In fact, I was nervous he wouldn’t even let me feature him.  He humbly agreed, as I really believe that all acts of kindness big or small, should be shared, celebrated and perhaps they will inspire someone else to do something similar in their school or their community.  This is the spirit of Campbell River in my eyes.