MAIN BROOK, NL – Anne Frank once said, “No one has ever become poor by giving.”
Ethel Patey knows it. The Main Brook resident has been reaching out to others and giving of herself throughout her entire life.
“The desire of my heart is to help people. It’s where I get life’s satisfaction,” the 80-year-old told the Northern Pen via phone interview.
Originally from St. Lunaire-Girquet, Patey moved to Main Brook at age 17 to work as a teacher. She married Everest Patey, now deceased, and had nine children.
Patey served on her town’s council for about 12 years before the last election.
“I didn’t run this last time,” she said.
Always ready to do whatever she could to help others, she helped organize numerous community enhancement projects, especially in her role with the White Bay Central Development Association.
“We are involved in job creation projects, we employ people, we are involved in restoration of our rivers,” Patey said of the association’s various projects.
“And we just completed an extension to our town office for a gym. It’s completed and all the equipment is moved in. Everybody is really pleased,” an enthusiastic Patey said.
Always dedicated to her faith, Patey is secretary-treasurer of the Pentecostal Church and provides valuable services to seniors in the community such as preparing their income tax.
Jean Whiteway said her mother has been involved in the Town of Main Brook as far back as she can remember.
“(Mom) was always involved in the church, from being a superintendent to a preacher on times. She always made sure we attended church and raised us to be respectful and kind to others,” Whiteway said.
Her mother’s commitment to her work has always been strong, she said.
“I remember Dad bringing (Mom) to work on skidoo when you couldn't see the house next door. She was and still is that dedicated to this day.”
Whiteway describes her mother as a pillar of the community, a friend to all and a woman who has found employment for many people in Main Brook and surrounding communities.
Her mother fought with government, she said, to provide funding so that residents could work.
“Many nights as a child, after homework was done, (Mom) would sit at the table with mountains of paper for hours trying to find a mistake she had made, which might have been only 25 cents, but she found it,” Whiteway added.
Patey said looking back on her life, she’s content knowing she helped as many people as she could through the years.
“And that just soothes you,” she said.
Whiteway summed up proud she and her siblings are of their mother’s commitment to her community.
“We are all so very proud of our mom and what she has achieved (and) at 80 years old, she is still fighting for her community.”
The Northern Pen’s recurring feature looks at the lives of seniors along the Northern Peninsula and southern Labrador. If you know a local senior with an interesting story to tell, email or call the Northern Pen.