Valerie’s Voice in La Ronge

Every so often there comes a person into one’s life that holds a significant place for varied reasons.

As Ron Woytowich announces his retirement as CEO of the Kikinahk Friendship Centre, a host of memories flood through my head and heart.

He has a passion for newspapers, which I share, and continues to lobby for a newspaper in La Ronge.

Over the years he would call up or just come over when he had something he wanted to highlight about the happenings at his beloved Kikinahk.

I can’t honestly remember when I didn’t know Ron.

Not being a money person, I have often marvelled at how he could have an idea and immediately dig into finding funding for that idea and somehow bring it to fruition.

Then he left the development and work on the project to those who make it their work. He brought so many people into La Ronge from dance groups, well-known performers, workshop presenters and the list goes on.

It was sometimes hard to resist when something just wouldn’t work for the newspaper, but he was always gracious and saw the other perspective.

He certainly isn’t someone who would sit back. He always wanted to tell the stories of Kikinahk in the best light possible.

When the Northerner closed in 2015, Ron was the first one over to our office. He was so upset.

That led to the creation and development of two community newspapers.

His patience, support, encouragement and good humour led to the production of two Community Connections, that I would never have imagined doing. And his simple pleasure, after much trial and error, with the completed project, was really cool.

One memory that still makes me laugh is his coming to see me because he wanted me to write about the new washrooms he got built for the gym at Kikinahk.

I went over and could see they were a definite enhancement to the facility. He even had our local MP on hand.

Then the fun began … getting a photo with these two guys to publicize the washrooms.

We were successful. With Ron, that was the usual outcome, even when it seemed a stretch.

There were often the long conversations sitting in his office whether it be about Kikinahk, or during the times he chaired the health region or was Mayor of the Town of La Ronge. Sometimes there was agreements and some not so much, but we always resolved the issue agreeing to agree, or not.

It’s not often I dedicate a column to one person, the last I think was the Late Elder Senator Myles Venne.

But Ron has influenced my life in so many different ways in my time in La Ronge, close to 20 years now.

There are so many stories one could write, including a free bus service for people in the community.

I know I’ve left out much, but who knows what Ron will do next!

Thank you Ron for a job well done, and my very best wishes to you and Sheila as you journey into your next adventure.

Your timing is great Ron; right at my deadline, you make this definite announcement. Bittersweet it is!