What makes Fernie special to you?

The vibe. It’s so difficult to put into words. There is an energy available here, that I have not experienced anyplace else that I have lived or visited. Is it our geographical atmosphere? The protective, breathtaking presence of our mountains. Naturally, they contribute. Is it our familiar yet ever-changing Elk River? The cold, clean, life force of our valley. Her current generates spirit. Mountains and rivers are a part of nearly every other mountain town I’ve been to… so I must attribute the unique vibe I found in Fernie to our community. In a time when social connections can easily be defined as the analytics of my social media feeds, I cherish the profound moments defined only by human interaction.

Blizzard blinded sidewalk travel
Requires head down power hiking
Over snow plough created moguls
Someone’s snow boots appear
Heads raise
Eyes meet
Snowflake laced lashes
Smiles exchanged
Final destinations
Paused That moment
A Fernite courtesy

Moment after moment, again and again, people give me their time. If only a moment, I’m touched every time. Folks that call Fernie home recognize these moments as an integral part of the local lifestyle – moments of connection that accumulate, like our legendary powder, into meaningful friendships, loving families, close-knit community – a landscape of people you can truly count on. It only takes one moment of connection to feel like you’re a part of something important. That’s the vibe.

What makes you proud to be Canadian?

I left Canada for my new home in upstate New York when I was 10. When I returned to Canada at 18 I was changed. They converted me with every pledge of allegiance to every star-spangled banner, every war on terrorism, I believed I was the best – we all did. I was educated with the fundamental ideology that I lived in the only nation that mattered. I was devastated to move back to Canada – where the only positive thing I could remember from when I was ten was Smarties. With my head down and my heart heavy, I left the home of the brave, land of the free. When I arrived back in Canada I woke up and I recognized my home and native land. In that moment with a glowing heart, I chose to rise above and I have lived with incredible gratitude to be Canadian from that day forward. I had to leave, be changed, come home and be found, to discover the true north strong and free within me.

What’s your Fernie story?

That’s the existential question. Easy. I followed a boy I was in love with. Now he’s my husband and best friend. We have three incredible children. Fernie is our home. We got married here, two of our kids were born at home here. As a mother – the title I identify with most naturally, there’s something special for me about the first house in Fernie we lived in. That little house on 5th Avenue, where my second son was born, makes me feel like I’ve lived here longer than the 10 years that I have. When I’m in that neighbourhood I tell my son, that’s where you were born. It feels ancient to me. My Fernie story is a work in progress. I don’t ever want to reside in the past. The only place I have any power is right now. I know I have lots to offer and as I grow as a woman, mother and community organizer what I’m able to offer evolves, but what remains constant is my desire to give back. It’s my purpose. I have lots left to give.