"I just wanted to tell you about my amazing Aunts."
That's how the e-mail began, from a Moncton listener to my co-host Vanessa Blanch. The amazing aunts Lise Bellefleur-Jonah was talking about live in Dalhousie.
Mina Sanders, Irma Hachey and Norma Andersen are 73, 77 and 79. They like to swim at the local pool. This week they swam a lot. 930 laps in total. In the process, they raised more than 4000 dollars for the local SPCA.
I spoke with Mina this morning, right after their last swim of the week. It was on the phone, but I had a wonderful picture of the three of them (in matching bathing suits they had each bought separately, by complete fluke!) open on my computer. Marshall Button, a native of Dalhousie who happened to be in studio for an interview with me, chimed in with a few questions and comments of his own. And suddenly it felt like we were gathered around Mina's kitchen table. That interview was what we call a "talker". People have been mentioning it non-stop all day.
I love this story for so many reasons. It's a great story about truly wonderful people doing an incredible thing, for the love of their community. I love the story because it came from a listener. Our coverage area is large. We can't have our eyes and ears everywhere. So I can't overstate how grateful we are when people get in touch with us with a story they think should be told. I also love this story because it comes from northern New Brunswick. I am well aware of the number of loyal listeners we have in Miramichi, Bathurst, Campbellton, the Acadian Peninsula and yes, Dalhousie. So any opportunity we have to reflect the people and issues in the north on our program makes me feel very good.
This was a feel good story. And I think that is what Mina expressed clearly and emphatically about a community that has seen more than its share of hard times. "We're going to get back on our feet".
For now, I hope Mina, Irma and Norma are putting their feet up. But Mina doesn't rule out another challenge down the road, for an important cause, for her community. I have a feeling we'll be speaking again.
A la prochaine...