Chaster added to Duncan’s honour roll

Ruth Chaster is congratulated by Duncan councillor Joe Thorne after recieving the city’s roll of honour Monday. - Peter W. Rusland
Ruth Chaster is congratulated by Duncan councillor Joe Thorne after recieving the city’s roll of honour Monday.
— image credit: Peter W. Rusland

Ruth Chaster seemed delightfully dazed during Duncan's inaugural service Monday when she learned she'd earned the city's 2012 Scroll of Honour.

"I was born here, so I've been around quite a while," she laughed after receiving the honour from Councillor Joe Thorne.

"It's a good thing when we can honour someone like this, especially a veteran," said Cowichan Tribes elder Thorne, who's a veteran himself.

But the city's scroll isn't given lightly; it salutes folks who've helped Duncanites for at least 15 years.

Chaster fills that bill by more than 50 years.

The life member of the Cowichan Legion joined Branch 53 in 1947 after wartime volunteer service.

Her Legion work spans arranging picnics and the dart league while helming meat draws and bingo nights — with all proceeds headed to valley charities.

The '60s saw Chaster playing, refereeing and timing Duncan basketball action while helping the Legion sponsor the Cowichan Valley Athletic Club.

Since 1973, Chaster has also delivered thousands of Meals On Wheels and driven veterans to various appointments while handing them home-made jellies and jams.

Topping that schedule sees Chaster being crucial in locating vets' graves that were improperly marked, while preserving Legion materials for the Cowichan Valley Museum.

Her Scroll was well deserved, signalled Councill Sharon Jackson. "Ruth's in her '80s and she's still sharp as a tack."

To longtime friend and Legion member, Betty James, explained Chaster's honour was overdue.

"Ruth's remarkable. She should have had it before now."


Quench drinking-fountain team wins city's Perpetual Arts Trophy

The foursome that created city square's centennial totem-pole drinking fountain earned Duncan's 2012 Perpetual Arts Trophy.

Team leader/water artist Peter Lewis was absent during Monday's city hall service when sculptor Rande Cook, castor/molder Richard Gibson, and plumbing mechanic Lauren Holman accepted certificates and a keeper art piece donated by valley photographer Neil Fatin.

Presenting Councillor Sharon Jackson noted Lewis' son, Thor, designed software to run the fountain full of water rated among Canada's best.


Kealey Scott is city's youngest Sports Trophy winner

Ten-year-old swimmer and snowboarder Kealey Scott struggled under the weight of the Duncan's 2012 Sports Trophy and keeper cup during Monday's city hall; service.

The Duncan Stingway and Cowichan Valley Breakers swimmer has competed in and won provincial pool honours. Those primed the Bench school student for her gruelling swim, in shark-inhabited waters, from San Francisco's Alcatraz Island to 'Frisco harbour.


Residential, commercial awards salute Beech Avenue, First Street projects

Joyce and Henk van de Graaf's unique home at 384 Beech Avenue was built by Thomson Construction under the tricky constraints of withstanding flood-plain and seismic risks.

The finished product earned the city's Residential Building Award Monday. Bob Thomson incorporated wood and stone features, upgraded insulation, heat pumps, and more in the van de Graaf's abode.

Over at 163 First Street, Dan and Andrea Hudson won the Commercial Building Award for lovingly renovation of the former Mulberry Lane Music house — built in 1906 — into Hudson's On First Restaurant.

Contractor Claus Fleming repurposed the heritage wooden structure into an upscale eatery, boasting a new commercial kitchen, seismic upgrades, historic wood use, coffered ceilings, leaded glass and more.

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