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Helping out the community

Paul Bickford
Northern News Services

Hay River (July 25/05) - John Brockway likes to help out his community.

And his outlet to help is the Hay River Elks Club, where he is halfway through a two-year term as president.

John Brockway is president of the Hay River Elks Club and a Montreal Canadiens fan, as demonstrated by the picture of Rocket Richard in his home.

"It makes you feel good you're doing something good for the community," he says.

Brockway joined the Elks about 10 years ago after his son Jeff became involved with the club. "I thought I could do something to help out, too, so I jumped on board."

The club donates about $90,000 a year to various groups and organizations in Hay River, primarily minor sports, schools and the hospital. "I'm going to continue as long as I can help out," says the 65-year-old Brockway. "It's a good group. We work together well."

Brockway, a native of Newfoundland, has lived in Hay River since 1981. His hometown is Benoit's Cove on the west coast.

In his time in Hay River, he has worked with the town's water and sewer department, as a groundskeeper at the golf course, and for 15 years with Northern Transportation Company Ltd. as an operator and labourer, until his retirement last year.

Unlike many people from the South, Brockway and his wife, Betty, have no plans to leave the North to retire.

"We're too involved here," he explains, noting three of their five children also live in Hay River, along with eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Family is important to Brockway, especially since he was adopted as a child.

Only five years ago, he discovered he had an older sister he never knew.

"It was pretty exciting," he says of meeting her for the first time.

Aside from having family in Hay River, Brockway likes living in the town.

"I love the community," he says. "I made a lot of friends here in the last 24 years."

However, he says he is not too fussy about the winters, finding them a little too long.

In the past, he was always involved in sports, including several years as president of Hay River minor hockey.

These days, Brockway enjoys watching sports, especially his favourite hockey team the Montreal Canadiens and his favourite golfer Phil Michelson.

"But me and my wife argue, because she's a Tiger Woods fan," he said, chuckling.