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LETTER: Compassion is the legacy for two very different people

Helen Poon, Mike Stewart both remembered for how lives converged in serving others
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To the Editor,

Usually the words come easily but it has been hard to write about the recent tragic passing of two people.

You may have known Mike Stewart. He was a passionate and incredibly skilled builder, engineer, and environmental advocate. You likely saw him around town on his bicycle, even at his advanced age. He volunteered with the Western Vancouver Island Industrial Heritage Society (WVIIHS) and always had a smile and funny joke or a story of far flung adventures as a younger man.

You did know of Helen Poon, who served one term as councillor for the City of Port Alberni. She was a truly special person and personal friend from whom Port Alberni benefited through her connections to people who may not have otherwise looked toward our city. It should also be remembered that she was the first councillor known to be transgender at that table.

These two special people also shared something in common: a commitment to using their personal means to help house and support disadvantaged people. Helen provided affordable housing in Vancouver and Port Alberni, many dedicated to gender diverse tenants. Mike provided space in his own home and personal support for individuals that many would have turned away.

Both always saw the best in others regardless of their plight. Both Helen and Mike had and used their indomitable spirits and positivity to take care of and shelter others regardless of the personal risks.

I will miss them both. May they rest in peace and may we all apply their care and empathy.

Chris Alemany,

Port Alberni