Richard Hawksworth, 88, has been living in the Alberni Valley since 1946. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

Richard Hawksworth, 88, has been living in the Alberni Valley since 1946. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

VALLEY SENIORS: Port Alberni senior raises funds for the less fortunate

Richard Hawksworth contributes to the well-being of others

ORLANDO DELANO

SPECIAL TO THE NEWS

Alberni Valley resident Richard Hawksworth, 88, has lived in Port Alberni since 1946 and has worked and raised his family here. For the past 16 years, he has provided assistance to children in need in various areas of the world.

Born in Cameo, Saskatchewan, Richard was one of five siblings raised on a farm by his hard-working parents.

“My mother was Cree and French and my father—who was of English descent—worked as an electronic technician and radio operator,” said Hawksworth. “In the 1950s, he tracked down the first Russian satellite via radio signals!”

Hawksworth was a longshoreman for 30 years for the B.C. Maritime Association, and he worked later on as a car dealer.

“I am sure that many remember ‘Chatwin Motors’ here in town,” he said. “Well, I worked for that company for a few years. I also joined the staff of Katila Motors as a salesman back in the ’70s and Dennis Jonsson Chevrolet.”

As a young worker in 1949, one of his first jobs was working for a private company hired by the government to maintain the Alberni Highway.

“In those days it was difficult to drive on that road on the way to Port Alberni, especially during the winter months when lots of snow was blocking the way, thus creating lots of traffic jams,” he recalled.

What is important to highlight in Richard’s adult life is the volunteer work he does for a special Catholic Church program, “The Call of the Poor”—a charitable project aimed to care for the afflicted and destitute around the world.

As a volunteer for the project, he has raised thousands of dollars for the society by collecting empty cans and bottles from the streets of the city and rural roads of the Alberni Valley. Every collection of empty cans and bottles is taken to the local Bottle Depot and exhanged for money. This money, in turn, is sent to the Catholic Church in Manitoba and distributed to the main fundraising organization that sponsors the project.

“I do the collection of the empties, but we also get donations from others in the community for the project,” said Hawksworth. “Every refund is accompanied by a receipt.”

The job of collecting cans and bottles takes time and effort. Hawksworth does it by riding his bicycle to various points in the community on a weekly basis. During all these years that he has been involved in the project, he has picked up more than 150,000 bottles and cans for the cause.

“One can or bottle can buy a bowl of rice for a hungry kid!” he says.

When asked about the origin of this worthwhile cause, he said that “The Call of the Poor” was founded by the late Bishop Omer Robidoux, who dedicated 48 years of his life to the cause of the less fortunate. In the early ’80s, while visiting missionaries in certain countries of the Third World, Bishop Robidoux was shocked by the deplorable conditions that the poor in those countries were subjected to. His commitment and dedication and that of the many volunteers and benefactors has brought relief and help to the needy.

Richard, the father of three sons, lost his wife 37 years ago at the age of 48.

His long life in the Valley has made Richard a well-known individual—not only as a worker, but as a sports fan and practitioner. He is a softball and hockey player, baseball umpire, manager of a senior hockey team and a sports fisherman, among others.

As a fisherman, he experienced interesting stories—including one that took place several years ago, when his boat capsized down the Alberni Inlet and got him stranded for hours!

Hawksworth, despite suffering a number of serious accidents in his life which at times were life and death scares, has overcome those difficult moments with faith and hope. As he puts it: “Thanks to my belief in the Lord.”

Today, he continues his crusade to raise funds for the less fortunate.

Port AlberniSeniors

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Richard Hawksworth, 88, has been living in the Alberni Valley since 1946. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

Richard Hawksworth, 88, has been living in the Alberni Valley since 1946. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

Just Posted

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

Artist Jim Holyoak’s installation “Quagmire.” Holyoak will be the first speaker for the Artist Talk Online Winter 2021 series. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
North Island College Artist Talk goes online for winter 2021

The series invites contemporary Canadian artists to speak about their professional practice

(NEWS FILE PHOTO)
City of Port Alberni, ACRD prepare for compost collection in 2021

Roadside pickup is expected to begin in the City of Port Alberni in June 2021

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the legislature, Jan. 11, 2021. (B.C. government)
Vancouver Island smashes COVID-19 high: 47 new cases in a day

Blowing past previous records, Vancouver Island is not matching B.C.s downward trend

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. (News Bulletin file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Nanaimo hospital

Two staff members and one patient have tested positive, all on the same floor

A long-term care worker receives the Pfizer vaccine at a clinic in Nanaimo earlier this month. (Island Health photo)
All Island seniors in long-term care will be vaccinated by the end of this weekend

Immunization of high-risk population will continue over the next two months

A 75-year-old aircraft has been languishing in a parking lot on the campus of the University of the Fraser Valley, but will soon be moved to the B.C. Aviation Museum. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Vintage military aircraft moving from Chilliwack to new home at B.C. Aviation Museum

The challenging move to Vancouver Island will be documented by Discovery Channel film crews

A video posted to social media by Chilliwack resident Rob Iezzi shows a teenager getting kicked in the face after being approached by three suspects on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (YouTube/Rob i)
VIDEO: Security cameras capture ‘just one more assault’ near B.C. high school

Third high-school related assault captured by Chilliwack resident’s cameras since beginning of 2021

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2017, file photo, Oklahoma State Rep. Justin Humphrey prepares to speak at the State Capitol in Oklahoma City. A mythical, ape-like creature that has captured the imagination of adventurers for decades has now become the target of Rep. Justin Humphrey. Humphrey, a Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season, He says issuing a state hunting license and tag could help boost tourism. (Steve Gooch/The Oklahoman via AP, File)
Oklahoma lawmaker proposes ‘Bigfoot’ hunting season

A Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season

Economic Development and Official Languages Minister Melanie Joly responds to a question in the House of Commons Monday November 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Federal minister touts need for new B.C. economic development agency

Last December’s federal economic update promised a stimulus package of about $100 billion this year

FILE - In this Nov. 20, 2017, file photo, Larry King attends the 45th International Emmy Awards at the New York Hilton, in New York. Former CNN talk show host King has been hospitalized with COVID-19 for more than a week, the news channel reported Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021. CNN reported the 87-year-old King contracted the coronavirus and was undergoing treatment at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP, File)
Larry King, broadcasting giant for half-century, dies at 87

King conducted an estimated 50,000 on-air interviews

Most Read