Alberni's Glenn Wong remembered
Kudos are pouring in for Glenn Wong, the popular Port Alberni regional district chair and school board trustee who died suddenly while away in Victoria on business last Friday.
His loss has been deeply felt throughout the community.
Wong was ready to help on a moment’s notice and did so without any expectation, said Tsawaayuus Rainbow Gardens site manager Gerri Thomas. “He really did go the extra mile to help out,” Thomas said. “We’re going to miss him at our little facility.”
Tsawaayuus has operated as a complex care facility in the Valley since 1990 and houses 30 long-term care and 10 assisted living care residents.
Wong made himself available to Tsawaayuus’ board and there were times that they needed him, Thomas said.
Wong was instrumental in helping the board employ their own assisted living care personnel when formerly only Vancouver Island Health Authority staff could provide such care. And he advocated the addition of nursing staff at the facility, Thomas said.
“He was always there. He was never too busy and never made you feel like you were imposing,” Thomas said. “He was sincere, interested and he cared.”
Thomas’ roots with Wong go back 40 years to the time Wong worked at the venerable family store on Johnston Road — The Sweet Shop. “It was the place to go,” Thomas said.
The store was a social centre and also broke cultural barriers. “They never made Indian people feel unwelcome; I’ll never forget that. The same can’t be said of other establishments in those years,” Thomas said.
Whatever drove Wong politically it wasn’t personal gain, Thomas said. “I think he wanted the Valley to be a better place, and I think he worked hard at that.”
Condolences poured in at albernivalleynews.com.
“I hope that we as a community follow his lead and never stop trying to find ways to make our town, our home, better,” wrote James Huysmans. “Never accept the status quo, never stop trying to find ways to improve the quality of life of everyone around you.”
Wong was a friend to the Valley, wrote Evelyn Mesic. “Glenn never stopped trying to make things better for our community, this was his home too, as he said so many times,” Mesic wrote. “...that is why he was always working tirelessly trying to improve our community and our town.”
Wong will be missed abroad as well, wrote Port Hardy Mayor Bev Parnham. “We will all miss Glenn’s quick wit and thoughtful presence at our Island Coastal Economic Trust meetings,” Parnham wrote.
“Glenn was a true champion of the Alberni Valley and will be missed by not only his constituents and community, but by the people who worked with him.”
A memorial service for Wong is being held at the Port Alberni Athletic Hall on Friday, Oct. 5 at 1 p.m.