Even after the Christmas trees Chris Bromley is selling are taken down after the holidays, the proceeds will keep giving back to the community. Every year, the Prince Rupert Rotary Club raises $3,500 to $4,000 for community projects by selling Christmas trees. This year, Bromley is in charge.
It’s just one of the generous acts Bromley is a part of in Prince Rupert. The Rotarian joined the club 10 years ago, has been a director for three or four years and in July the president-elect will take over from Karen Basso.
“It’s actually a fun organization to be a part of. We do a lot for the community … At the auction, I arrange for the three nights all the deliveries that go out. I’m responsible for getting them to where they got to go because I know where all the streets are,” he said with a chuckle.
His map-like knowledge of Rupert comes in handy at his job as a terminal manager for Bandstra Transportation, where he’s worked since moving to the coastal city.
Much like his involvement with the Rotary, Bromley loves the work he does at Bandstra because they help move the community forward.
“Every time you see the fireworks shooting, that’s off the back of one of our trailers. We allow the pyrotechnics to use our warehouse to get the fireworks ready and then we take the trailer to wherever it’s got to go to for the shoot,” Bromley said. “The Christmas trees use our truck here free of charge from Bandstra. The fireworks we bring in for free for the city to make sure they can do a good shoot and buy more fireworks. They don’t have to spend money on the freight.”
Bromley’s efforts go beyond than fun celebrations. Behind the scenes, his company also helps patients released from the Prince Rupert hospital return equipment like wheelchairs and crutches. For some as far as Hazelton, not having to make the return trip takes a huge load off their shoulders.
They’ve even been known to transport bear cubs from Haida Gwaii to the bear sanctuary in Smithers, and other animals to Gunther and Nancy at the Prince Rupert Wildlife Rehab Shelter.
“You name it, we will support it,” Bromley said, listing off other items the company has transported free of charge including the gym club’s equipment, the new playground at Mariner’s Park, the hay for the RCMP musical ride.
Even when Bromley’s not working with Bandstra or the Rotary, he’s still driving change in the community. Aboard his Harley Davidson, he participates in the annual Salvation Army Toy Run.
“The community gives me the ability to live here,” Bromley said. “The whole of Prince Rupert is a very community-minded community. Everybody knows everybody and we all help each other.”
Bromley can sum up the reason he came to Prince Rupert in one word: Jackie.
Fourteen or 15 years ago, the couple met online. Bromley, who is originally from England, was living in Toronto when he first heard of the Rupertite who would become his wife. Eleven years ago he moved to Prince Rupert permanently and this year, he and Jackie will celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary in March.
“She works in Safeway and she’s lived here all her life,” Bromley said. “If you shop at Safeway, you can’t miss her laugh and big smile.”
Coming from Toronto, Bromley said Prince Rupert has a totally different vibe.
“I grew up in a very small village in England, and Prince Rupert is very much like it — including the weather. It doesn’t bother me at all. I absolutely love it here.”
The next event you can find Bromley at is the annual Polar Bear Swim on Jan. 1 — but he won’t be in the water. Instead, he’ll be helping with the free hot dogs and hot chocolate, donated by Tim Horton’s, down at the Rushbrook floats for the traditional new year’s dip.
“It looks too cold when you see them coming out,” he said with a laugh. “I’ll be down there making sure the barbecues and tables are there and available to be set up and ready. When it’s over, I’ll make sure it’s all packed up and goes back to where it’s got to go to.”