May 18, 2016
Special Olympian Betty Colk shows off
her trophy and ribbon she won in swimming this year at the Special
Olympics. (RCMP photo)
We Are Family
Longtime Community Police Station
volunteer also a Special Olympian
Mike Rail, Chilliwack RCMP
only has to meet Betty once for her zeal of life to inspire and lift their
That was not always the case for Betty Colk,
56, a volunteer for over twenty years with Chilliwack RCMP Community
Policing, but determination, a meeting with a RCMP officer, and the sound
advice of an uncle, transformed her life forever.
Born in Calgary Alberta, Betty suffered
caused by the lack of oxygen to her brain at birth, which she freely admits,
made life growing up a ‘rough’ learning experience.
Above, Betty Colk with
Insp. Deanne Burleigh at the Chilliwack Corn Maze in September 2013. Below,
Betty lays a wreath on Remembrance Day 2014 at the downtown cenotaph.
Bottom, Betty and Janet Henderson on the Special Olympics Torch Run in July
2014. (Voice photos)
At the age of two Betty moved to Agassiz where
she lived with foster parents, growing up fishing and camping, until at
eighteen she moved to a second foster home. In school however, Betty was
bullied and had few friends, never graduating from high school.
In her twenties, Betty participated in a program which aided young adults
with learning disabilities to gain work experience and find a career.
chose police work as her career, and as part of the program’s curriculum,
made an appointment to interview a RCMP officer at the downtown Chilliwack
Community Policing Office (CPO). So scared she couldn’t look the constable
in the face, Betty none-the-less, made a strong impression and was hired on
the spot by the officer as a volunteer at the CPO.
While volunteering during a RCMP fund raising function for the occasion,
Betty was introduced to Special Olympics BC and her passion of athletics —
coupled with her uncle’s timely advice to ‘focus on what you can do, not
what you can’t do’— was ignited.
Over twenty two years later Betty continues to put her heart and soul as an
athlete into both swimming and bowling competitions around the Okanagan and
Lower Mainland. With the support of her RCMP family, the coaching provided
by Special Olympics BC volunteers, and physical training, Betty has learned
to develop her abilities as a person and athlete to meet challenges, such as
her fear of water, to manage these obstacles and, to go on to win ribbons in
the back stroke event at swim meets.
1980, Special Olympics BC has provided high-quality, year-round sports
programs for athletes around the province with the goal of providing
individuals with intellectual disabilities the opportunities to enrich their
lives and celebrate personal achievement through positive sport experiences.
On May, 31, 2016, RCMP officers in Chilliwack, in conjunction with Law
Enforcement personnel in their communities throughout the Lower Mainland,
will participate in the Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) for Special
BC Law Enforcement Torch Run raises funds and awareness for Special Olympics
BC in our community. The 3 kilometer LETR run starts at 11:00 a.m. from
Sardis Secondary –for runners- and Save-On Foods in Sardis –for walkers- and
finishes at PRTC”, said Sgt. Forbes Cavanagh of Chilliwack RCMP.
When speaking of life, Special Olympics BC, and her RCMP family Betty says,
“Once you find your place in life go with it, be a leader. I focus on my
good points. I feel alive inside, happy, proud, like a human being, like I
am contributing and able to help others. I was always alone before and I’m
not alone anymore, I don’t have to run away anymore. This is my family”.
Oh Betty, let us thank you for making our family so much stronger.
The Valley Voice
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