Opinion

One ‘little’ accident won’t keep good people down

Bad things happen to good people, but sometimes good things can come about from a bad situation.

It often depends on your point of view.

If you ask Art and Sally van Holst, they’ll tell you they are thankful to be alive.

“We’re pretty fortunate to come away with a few bruises,”  Art said Monday afternoon.

Those bruises still hurt and healing will take time, but the accident could have been so much worse.

On Monday, shortly after 6 a.m., the van Holsts were stopped at the intersection of the Island Highway and Hilchey Road when their van was rear-ended by a Camaro. The driver of the car never braked and then fled on foot.

He was later caught by police who say alcohol was involved.

The impact totalled the van Holst’s 2004 vehicle which they had just paid off and use it for their cleaning business. It’s a business they’ve been doing for years and it allows them to run the Radiant Life Community Church.

For many years, Pastor Art and Sally have tirelessly worked to take care of Campbell River’s least fortunate citizens. They do it with compassion and never with any fanfare.

That’s the way they like it.

Even hours after the accident, after they’ve been released from hospital, their first thoughts weren’t for themselves. Instead, Art was making sure things were in order at the new safe shelter. Since October, members of Radiant Life and a handful of contracted employees have been running the new low-barrier shelter beside the downtown firehall.

It’s only a temporary cold weather shelter – and a pilot project here in B.C. – but it’s a fine place to spend the night when it’s freezing and wet outside, and you’re homeless.

The shelter has been open since October and so far things are going exceedingly well. With donations of labour and materials, fencing, shrubs and trees were planted around the shelter to give it a far more homey look and feel. The nightly guests, along with so many more, also enjoy breakfasts and dinners across the street at the Radiant Life Church.

It’s a fine community built on determination, commitment, love and faith, and it’s not about to be interrupted by one accident and some pain.

“Since the accident, so many people have called to ask what they can do or how they can help. It’s wonderful...we’re really blessed,” said Art.

The van Holsts, understandably, couldn’t make Monday’s first open house at the Safe Shelter. They wanted to be there to welcome the community to their community and to show what is possible when people work together.

The new Safe Shelter is something everyone in this city can take pride in. Perhaps that’s why a mother and her three young children showed up at the open house.

They wanted to see for themselves what it’s all about, to learn and to hopefully help out in someway. And it’s that type of goodness that gets others through bad situations.

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