Nancy and Gunther Golinia were honoured with the B.C. Community Achievement Award on Saturday for their tireless decades of work operating the Prince Rupert Wildlife Shelter.
The Golinia’s were nominated by Terrace conservation officer Gareth Scrivner after he discovered the work the couple had been performing for the past 30 years in town.
The ceremony appropriately took place at the shelter. North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice presented the honours, which were attended by several admirers of the Golinia’s work.
|North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice was on hand to present the honours. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)|
|‘Shining’ the crow helped ensure the ceremony ran smoothly. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)|
“Having spent the majority of their adult lives healing wounded and abandoned wildlife with genuine compassion and care, the Golinia’s dedication, passion, and selfless caring drives their unique and important work,” Rice said.
|The reception took place at the shelter where the Golinia’s have performed their work for the past three decades. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)|
Rice shared a story of a time she found an injured eagle stuck in a wire fence near the Rushbrook Trail. After bringing Nancy to the scene, she was able to soothe the bird long enough for it to be cut free, without getting agitated and shredding its wing in the fence.
“That’s why the conservation officers call Nancy the animal whisperer. Because she has that communication with animals to be able to calm them down,” Gunther said of his wife.
|Gunther and Nancy Golinia also each received a pin as part of the ceremony. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)|
|(Alex Kurial / The Northern View)|
The wildlife shelter has been home to thousands of animals over the years, currently housing several dozen until they are ready to be rehabilitated into the wild, or find homes. Owls, cats, eagles, and more make up the diverse animal community. The Golinia’s also recounted some of the rarer species they have had the opportunity to rehabilitate, including a frigatebird and even a pelican.
|This owl is one of the thousands of animals that have been nursed back to health at the shelter. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)|
|When these eagles are ready to head back into the wild, they will signal by hanging upside down from the netting covering their enclosure. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)|
“The community helped us to be where we are today,” Gunther said, while also giving thanks to local conservation officers and the RCMP for their part in assisting the animals.
“This is an example of true altruism, where you’re getting honoured but you’re passing on the thanks to everybody else,” Rice concluded.
The Golinia’s show no sign of slowing down in their work either. “We are going until our last breath,” Gunther said.
Alex Kurial | Journalist
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