Wednesday, September 19, 2012

 

Commentary

Tight Lines and Straight Shooting

A tribute to Gwyn Joiner

Released by R. Pearsall, PA to MP Mark Strahl/Voice file photo

 

attended a memorable memorial service last Saturday. We were there to celebrate the life of Gwyn Joiner, who passed away too soon at the age of 67, and left behind a powerful legacy of quiet service to his community, his country and most importantly, to his family.

I knew Gwyn when I was growing up, first because he was my uncle's uncle, second because my older sister figure skated with his daughter, Debbie, and third, because he was a Joiner, and everyone in Chilliwack knows about the famous Joiner corn.

Gwyn loved Chilliwack and the great outdoors. Fishing and hunting were his passions. He gave back to his community generously and like so many hunters and anglers, he was a leading conservationist.

Gwyn was an honorary Life Member of the Chilliwack Fish and Game Protective Association and held important positions within the Vedder River Management Committee; the Upper Fraser Valley Sports Fishing Advisory Board; the Junior-22 program; the Fraser Valley Salmon Society; the Sports Fishing Defence Alliance; the Chilliwack River Action Committee; the Fraser River Gravel Stewardship Committee; and the Chilliwack River Cleanup Society’s "Adopt a River" program.

Gwyn did his best to ensure that the rivers he loved and the woods he hunted in would still be beautiful and productive habitat for his kids and grandkids to enjoy.

At the memorial service, we saw many photos of Gwyn's trophy fish and game and they were very impressive. But what were even more impressive were the stories about Gwyn’s commitment to sustainability and sportsmanship.

He was the kind of man who would rather let a trophy fish swim by and go home empty handed than catch it in an unsportsmanlike way. He would have never exceeded his limit, and never kept a foul hooked fish, even if there was no one around to call him on it. He did what was right, because it was the right thing to do, not because someone might be watching. He was an honourable man, and a straight shooter, both with his rifle and with his words.

After my election last year, Gwyn offered to be a resource to me on fishing and hunting issues and I could think of no better mentor to provide advice. I'm just sorry I won’t be able to take him up on that offer any longer.

Because of his dedication to community, to conservation, and to our hunting and fishing heritage, Gwyn Joiner was posthumously awarded a Queen's Jubilee Medal by the Governor General of Canada. While I lamented not being able to present it to him in person, his daughter Debbie told me that he probably would have preferred it that way, as he would have never thought he deserved it and would have been uncomfortable being honoured.

This world could use a lot more people like Gwyn Joiner. People whose passion leads them to action, and people whose actions are louder than their words. We should all seek to leave behind the kind of legacy that he has.

Tight lines and straight shooting, Gwyn. You will be missed.

 

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