To the Editor:
I watched him go into that house in the neighbourhood with the obviously “different” occupants. He treated the people who lived there with respect and humility. I watched it happen over and over. Neighbourhood disputes did not get settled with a call to the cops. They called him. He worked with his neighbours in the community to get grants and found out information when it was needed. He worked to get water issues resolved. Ask Kitchener residents. Who helped them get $80,000 to pay for their water treatment facility? He did. He came when homes burned down and found help for the residents. He did not coerce but inspired people to volunteer to help others in our community whether it was personal help or by becoming involved and sitting on boards, APCs and societies. He outbid himself at auction to help out a small girl whom he did not even know.
He and his wife, Marilyn, took calls late at night and indecently early in the morning from residents, listened to their problems and if he could find an answer, he did. If he couldn’t give them an answer right away, then he worked to find out who could and without fail got back to them.
From Yahk, through Kitchener, Canyon, the Lower Kootenay Band and Lister, all of Regional District of Central Kootenay Area B was supported. With John Kettle’s help, Yahk has become a mecca of community spirit and pride with one of the nicest community halls in Canada. I saw him fight for 10 years for a park for the children in Arrow Creek and, when asked, worked to get fire coverage, as well. Our airport and the emergency services it now provides us has been, in large part, obtained by the late Fred Jones (whom we will always remember with love) who worked in conjunction with him, as have all our individual areas in Area B. People are involved now. And in a good way.
He worked tirelessly to find funds to support our children’s sports and arts programs and to acquire funds from Columbia Basin Trust of more than $60,000 each year for residents of all ages. From animal spay and neuter programs to children’s gymnastics, funds were found. Without his support, many of the programs we all rely on to make our lives happier would not be available today.
He helped a dozen people work together on the Area B advisory planning commission to bring a community plan to the area. Working every month for a few hours around a table arguing, laughing, talking, sharing, disagreeing and agreeing, for no more remuneration than a cup of coffee and some desserts, all those people met for more than a year and prepared a community plan for public review. When tragedies occurred in our area, he came and offered support. When deaths occurred and the family needed someone, they called him. He always came to help.
Unless you live in Area B, you cannot understand. Most people respect him and appreciate what he did and continues to do for our community. Thank you, John and Marilyn Kettle. You have made us a community.