VIDEO and story: Heart of Our City — Keeping tradition alive

Events in Prince Rupert are always special when Bev Killbery is involved

One of the lead organizers with the special events society put on her favourite costume this Halloween — she’s going as a volunteer.

A director and the vice president of the Prince Rupert Special Events Society (PRSES), Killbery has moved to Prince Rupert three times. Her husband Bob worked with the RCMP for many years and was transferred across B.C. to posts including Rupert, Victoria, Prince Rupert (again), Prince George, Surrey and — the final move — back to the North Coast.

“We really love Prince Rupert,” Killbery said. “We like the community, we like the area, we both like fishing. It’s just a super small, friendly little city.”

Bob has since retired, and the couple decided to make their decades-long love affair with the city a full-time placement.

“Prince Rupert, since I moved here, has always called to us. I never got a chance to come back when we lived in Victoria,” Killbery said. But she has kept in touch with her friends since 1985.

Now, Killbery sees those friends all the time. They have many occasions to do so since Killbery is so involved with PRESES. She has been volunteering with Children’s Fest, Seafest, Canada Day and Winterfest since 2009.

“I guess I kind of recruit them into the special events festivals and stuff like that,” Killbery said with a laugh.

She first took on volunteering, after years of school activities and leading beaver and cub scouts with her husband, when the Hallowe’enfest needed a new home. The annual festival was created and run by the RCMP to create a safe place for kids to trick-or-treat — and stay out of trouble — but in 2008, the RCMP office couldn’t take on the event anymore. Bob asked Bev if she could help.

This year, Hallowe’enfest is celebrating its 30th anniversary.

“It’s just great to see how many kids enjoy it. We really promote the safety factor, because kids can come and be sure to have their trick-or-treating done in a safe environment. A chance for them to have fun. That’s the main reason I keep doing it,” Killbery said.

When she’s not volunteering in the community, Killbery is often with her 10-year-old granddaughter, Olivia. Since Bev’s daughter Jenny moved back to Prince Rupert in 2011 in her own capacity with the RCMP, Bev and Olivia have signed up for many activities together, such as Music for Young Children, a four-year program where the child is accompanied by a guardian.

“I can’t sing,” Killbery said. “I can plunk along a little bit on the piano, but I enjoy watching her do her singing. She’s progressed quite a bit.”

Many of Killbery’s efforts help to create experiences and memories for other people.

“I just like being part of an organization that puts on activities for other people. It’s all hectic and chaotic at the time, but afterwards, there’s a feeling of fulfilment that you’ve done a good job, people have enjoyed themselves,” Killbery said. “You’ve made a difference in some people’s lives.”

Ever the recruiter, Killbery emphasized that volunteering looks good on a resume.

“You have younger people volunteer with you, and that gives them a chance to see that volunteering is really the backbone of any organization and the community.

“I just wanted to see things get done. It gets harder and harder to get volunteers. And when you don’t have volunteers, you don’t have the activities that the community is used to having,” Killbery said. “I think the community would really miss it if it was gone. So I keep volunteering. Like all the other directors, we’re hoping that more of the younger people will be interested in working on it and continuing on the tradition.”

WATCH: Video — Highlights from Halloween on the North Coast



keili.bartlett@thenorthernview.com

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