Bunt Cranmer was among the many individuals who worked in the project to build Tsawaayuus, Rainbow Gardens in the 1990s.
Cranmer was involved in the project for eight years while working as a secretary for the United Native Nations in Port Alberni. She was at that time member of the committee that had to hire the contractors and workers for the building construction.
In July 1992, the project became a reality for 30 residents with the official opening of the multi-level care facility.
Cranmer, who was born and raised in Alert Bay, is a member of the Namgis First Nation and has lived in Port Alberni for 34 years. She is the youngest of nine children and mother of two.
Since the age of nine she helped her mother care for her father who suffered several strokes before his passing. Bunt was 11.
“I was hired as a direct care aid after taking a refresher course at North Island College, as I had my License Practical Nurse Diploma,” she says. “For the past three years I have worked as the activity co-ordinator.”
Cranmer adds: “There are several things that have highlighted my working experience in Rainbow Gardens. One of them was the day we had the official opening and saw all the people who had been part of the project and the arrival of the new tenants, including a 99-year old resident.
“I keep fond memories of the people who have lived here all these years and I think that I have tried to make Rainbow Gardens and its residents active part of our community. Also, I have done my best to bring the native culture to this home.
“At the same time, by taking residents on bus trips to functions, we make them feel members of the community.”
Now that she is retiring (as of Dec. 30), Cranmer shares her mixed feelings by saying that she feels like she is leaving her family behind, but is looking forward to come back as a volunteer.
When asked for advice to her successor, she replied: “We all have to remember that we are advocates for the residents, we have to respect their choices, their wishes and emotions by listening to them.
“To work with seniors is a rewarding experience. They have been a big part of my life.”
BULLETIN BOARD… Residents, board members and staff want to thank those who came to support the Rainbow Gardens Auxiliary Bazaar, which raised $1,700…The winner of the Scratch Tree raffle was Shaune Thomas.