EDITORIAL: Community’s loss runs deep

You never truly know the depth of a leader’s influence and hold on a community until they’re gone.

We are learning that difficult lesson this week with the news that Kristi Dobson, a staunch community advocate and gentle voice in the Alberni Valley, died in her sleep at age 43.

Dobson, who grew up in Port Alberni in a family that is deeply woven into the fabric of the area, loved the city—and she wore her ‘Heart of Vancouver Island’ on her sleeve, both in her words and her actions.

Her sense of place and love of her roots is so densely intertwined with her philanthropy, that her loss is being felt widely. (So much so, in fact, that our online story about Kristi is much longer.)

Port Alberni loses its community voice

We are feeling that loss here at the Alberni Valley News, too.

Kristi switched back and forth between the AV Times and Alberni Valley News, working for both as a graphic designer (also with Houle Printing) and writer/ photographer. Although she switched offices, she never switched allegiances: her loyalty always ran with Port Alberni.

Her strength lay in telling the city’s stories—its triumphs without gushing, its trials without being too maudlin.

When the AV Times closed two years ago, she started freelancing regularly for us at the Alberni Valley News, writing up to half a dozen stories per month.

She always had a unique perspective on the community, and knew so many people.

Not content with just freelancing, she also started a blog at Alberni.ca called Valley Heartbeat, where she profiled some of those people she knew, as well as those she had just met.

She started her own business, Red Ink Solutions, where she offered writing, editing, multi-media and graphic design services. She wrote memoirs for people, compiling childhood and family memories for them. She called herself an “accidental editor”.

Her desire to share people’s stories was no accident, however.

We will miss her stories. We will miss her indomitable attitude when it came to finding the good in her community. She made a difference in everyone’s lives.

We will miss her friendship.

—Alberni Valley News