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Good neighbours: Airport security workers honoured

Al Paterson recently accepted the Commissionaires Governor General award on behalf of the Airport Security Department of Victoria International Airport.
Al Paterson moonlights as Santa Claus at Victoria International Airport.

Al Paterson recently accepted the Commissionaires Governor General award on behalf of the Airport Security Department of Victoria International Airport.

The award recognizes the Security Department for its part in the airport winning the Airports Council International Airport Service Quality Award for airports in North America carrying as many as two million passengers a year.

Paterson was chosen to accept the award by his peers because of his contribution above and beyond the call of duty.

Apart from security and showing travellers where to go, Paterson dons a Santa suit every Christmas season, putting smiles on the faces of children and parents while they wait for their flights.

“He removes the stress of flying with one walk through,” says Jose Brochez, a colleague.

After Christmas, he shaves off hair, beard and eyebrows in the main terminal, raising money for the Victoria Hospice, his charity of choice since the passing of his wife three years ago.

Paterson, chief of site security at the airport, downplays his accomplishments.

“The 50 or so employees at the airport all have a hand in the win,” said Paterson, who was stationed in the military in New Brunswick in 1996. “They all go out of their way to make sure people get to where they’ve got to go in the most efficient way to do so.”

The self-described rotund individual also donated the prize money that came with the award to the hospice.

Triathlon raises money for MS

People are encouraged to cheer on novice triathletes at the first-ever Fort Street Cycle Beginner Tri for Multiple Sclerosis today. The event, presented by TriStars Training, is a non-timed triathlon training event that enables beginner triathletes to experience a triathlon in a non-competitive, fun and supportive atmosphere. Two of the 75 contestants have MS.

The sold-out event has so far raised over $12,000 for the MS Society of Victoria.

Viewing the event is free. The first heat starts at 7:45 a.m. at the Gordon Head Recreation Centre, 4100 Lambrick Way in Saanich. For more information, go to

Residents will show their art

For the second year in a row, tenants living in Pacifica Housing’s four supported-housing complexes will connect with their community through artwork at a month-long show at the Island Blue Art Store.

“The majority of the folks submitting pieces for this display are not out there actively promoting themselves or their work,” said Angela McNulty Buell of Pacifica Housing. “Its a great opportunity for the public to see some incredibly diverse pieces, and the artists are excited to display their work.”

Tickets are $10 for a special after-hours exhibition and art sale that runs 6 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Island Blue Art Store, 905 Fort St. For more information and to purchase tickets for Wednesday’s art show, please contact Kristy Colpron at 250-385-2131, ext. 103, or email Tickets are limited and will not be sold at the door.

Auction benefits kidney patients

A recent silent auction to benefit the Vancouver Island Kidney Patients’ Association raised more than $11,500 toward providing transonic monitors to each dialysis unit on Vancouver Island.

The VIKPA is a non-profit volunteer-run society working for the benefit of more than 2,400 renal patients throughout the island. Members include kidney patients, friends, families, caregivers and others interested in helping them face the challenges of kidney disease.

People and organizations who provided overwhelming donations for the auction include Hostelling International Victoria, Hastings House Country House Hotel and VIA Rail. For more information, go to

Mentorship brings honour

Andrea Paquette, the executive director for the Bipolar Disorder Society of British Columbia, has been honoured with a Reintegration Award for mentorship by the National Council for Community Healthcare, based in Washington, D.C.

Paquette, who had also struggled with the disorder in her youth, was recognized for her mentorship with youth who have mental illness in Victoria. She also co-formed the Bipolar Disorder Society of B.C.

The award celebrates the achievements of those with bipolar disorder in the community who dedicate themselves to improving the lives of individuals with serious mental illnesses. For more information, go to For more information on Bipolar Disorder Society of British Columbia go to

Emergency readiness urged

With National Emergency Preparedness Week starting today, people are urged to take time to ensure they and their families are prepared for a power outage, earthquake or tsunami.

Victoria has a one in three probability of experiencing a damaging earthquake in the next 50 years.

The City of Victoria’s Recipe for Disaster series, available at local venues or online, lists what people need to include in their emergency kit to help protect family, pets or business. An emergency kit should have enough food, fresh water, medication and supplies to cope with up to seven days without outside assistance.

Free workshops to help Victoria residents prepare for an emergency will be held:

Thursday, May 9, from 1 to 3 p.m. in the Antechamber of the Victoria City Hall, Douglas St. and Pandora Ave.

Saturday, May 11, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Central Branch of the Greater Victoria Public Library, 735 Broughton St.

Wednesday, May 29, from 7 to 9 p.m. at Oaklands Community Centre, 2827 Belmont Ave.

To register, email or call 250-920-3373. The Victoria Emergency Management Agency is the City of Victoria’s resource for helping the community prepare for an emergency. For more information, go to


We missed a letter in Graham Sullivan’s web page address last week. Sullivan is a local young man we wrote about who is raising money to purchase supplies to fill a schoolhouse in Kenya.

To donate, visit The previous address sent people to another person’s fundraising page.

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