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This week's Hidden Hero: Olga Mehrer

The Hidden Hero Project is a portrait series celebrating the everyday heroes who live and give in Castlegar. Community members were asked to nominate people as heroes back in the summer of 2018 and the exhibition celebrating a selection of the good folks of Castlegar will open at Kootenay Gallery on June 20. 

 

Partway through the project it became clear that ‘hero’ is perhaps too strong a word. Some nominees flinched at the suggestion that someone would call them a hero. And indeed, hero conjures images of a firefighter, an ER nurse, a superhuman in a cape. These are undoubtedly worthy of our appreciation. But so are the everyday folks who do more good than harm, and hopefully that’s most of us. The idea behind this project is to celebrate the goodness that resides in most people. There are thousands of ‘hidden heroes’ in Castlegar, quietly offering kindnesses to others without ever considering their actions to be worthy of recognition. Yet we all know that a well-timed act of kindness can mean a world of difference. We know that it is the efforts of many people over time that builds a strong community. 

 

Olga Mehrer is pretty incredible, full of life and laughter in her nineties. She’s been making an impact all her life, and continues to do so, as is clear in this comment:

 

Olga was instrumental in the development of Stellar Place when nothing of its kind was available in Castlegar. Further, over the 25 years of its existence, she has led or helped at social events and has welcomes all new residents with her smile and often small gifts. She is our Queen!”

 

You probably know a hidden hero or two. With this in mind, the nomination form is still available online. All nominations made before tomorrow, June 3, 2019 will be included as part of the exhibition. 

 

Nominees were asked four questions, and you’re welcome to send in your reflections on any or all of the following as well.

 

1. What does ‘community’ mean to you?

2. What does being a contributing member of society look like to you?

3. What advice would you give to someone who is not currently engaging with their community but would like to be?

4. What are some of the personal benefits (expected or unanticipated) you receive by giving, by contributing, by helping others?   

This project was conceived of by the curator at Kootenay Gallery of Art and is supported by the Province of BC Community Resilience Through Arts and Culture Grant.