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I am a lawyer here in town and have for many years represented survivors of Indian residential schools. In and of itself, this experience has been remarkable. My clients, deeply injured as they are by the atrocities they were subjected to, never fail to humble me with their strength and courage, their dignity and integrity and their ability to forgive the unforgivable. However, even among this stellar group, there are standouts. I write about one of them today. I will speak of him as the Unknown Survivor, as he is acting in anonymity. He was indeed a victim of atrocities and, as a result, has carried through his life a profound suffering. Recently he received a compensation award through the Indian Residential School Independent Assessment Process. Upon receiving his compensation, he came to me with a bank draft made out in the name of the New Life Mission (NLM) in the amount of $14,462.46. He asked me if I would forward it on for him,
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anonymously. Having been helped by the NLM during hard times, this was his way not only of thanking them, but of giving of his abundance as the God of his understanding requires. His donation represents 10 per cent of his compensation. There were many years when this man’s annual income was less than this amount. He has lived with little most of his life and now, when he has a little something, his first thought is to share it with those who have walked in his shoes. It helps to understand the extraordinary nature of this act by noting that the United Way’s contribution to the NLM this year was $15,000. So many survivors of residential school abuses walk among us unseen, unrecognized and uncompensated, perhaps the most harmed most unable to step forward. To have this man step forward then, unknown in this profound act of generosity, is as poignant a moment as I can recall. At a time of year when we are often overwhelmed by a drive to consume this natural generosity, kindness and caring is a standard to reach for. Perhaps readers will remember this, be touch by it,
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and inspired to their own accts of kindness. MICHELLE GOOD COMPANY Kamloops