Castlegar invited to come celebrate Lawrence Chernoff's 75th birthday

Kyra Hoggan
By Kyra Hoggan
August 10th, 2022

Former Castlegar Mayor Lawrence Chernoff is celebrating his 75th birthday today – and YOU are invited!

Probably best-known for his huge and winning smile, Chernoff has been serving the community of Castlegar for decades in a variety of capacities – including city councillor for 15 years and mayor for 13 years.

“Before that, he was a paramedic – we’ve worked a lot of years together,” said former Castlegar Fire Chief Gerry Rempel. “Since before 1984, at least.

“He has a very strong sense of community,” Rempel added. “A lot of times he was on vacation, but still covered the ambulance. If it needed doing, he did it.”

He said he and Chernoff spent plenty of time doing odd things like camping on the roofs of local businesses to fundraise for the city’s first rescue truck back in ’99, when they started the highway rescue and first responder progam.

Chernoff was born in Penticton in 1947, then moved to Thrums at the age of six or seven and never looked back.

It was here that he met the love of his life, Jodi, in 1969 through mutual friends. They were married on May 2, 1970 and have two grown children, Jeremy and Jenn, and two grandchildren, Aiden and Matthew.

While his first job was at Celgar, he was already volunteering for the ambulance service when a full time opportunity arose as a paramedic, and he jumped at it.

“It was the easiest decision I ever made,” Chernoff said – and thus began a lifelong passion for community service. He ran for council and won a seat in 1987, serving 15 years as councillor before segueing into the mayor’s office.

During his tenure, he supported a variety of cityscape-altering projects, from airport expansion to Millennium Ponds, from Sculpture Walk to chairing the Highway 3 Mayors Coalition, spearheading a new City Hall, new Fire Hall, and so much more.

“It was a joy to be mayor of this community,” he said. “I really enjoyed all of it, improving things for the Kootenays.”

That being said, he has no intention of running in the upcoming civic election.

The past few years have been challenging for Chernoff, having lost his beloved wife and partner Jodi in 2019.

“Ever since then, I probably haven’t really got back on track,” he said, adding the COVID-19 lockdowns added an element of forced isolation that was a, “big chore for a people-person like me”.

“My hope is to get back into things slowly – I’m working in that direction.”

Hence the city-wide invitation to his birthday celebration.

“I haven’t seen a lot of people in a long time, and you only turn 75 once,” he said, laughing. “I’m really looking forward to spending time with my family, friends and community.”

To join in the fun, head to 2513 6 Ave. from 4 to 8 p.m. Please bring a lawn chair. Light refreshments and drinks will be served. Any questions? Email Jenn at jenkooz@yahoo.ca

Categories: General