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Small engine mechanic with a big heart

Bruce Valpy
Northern News Services

Pond Inlet (Nov 06/06) - Sam Kautainuk is one of those special people in any small community - he fixes four-wheelers, snowmobiles, cars, vans, even heavy equipment.

He's been doing it for 40 years and is good enough to make a living at it. Now he's working at the Co-op repair shop in Pond Inlet.

It's no surprise that people are always asking him for help.

"Anytime, day or night, it never stops," said Kautainuk. With a chuckle and gleam in his eye, he added, "Sometimes, I'm asking first, 'The money?'"

His earliest memory of his mechanical talent started with an old electric clock when he was 13 years old, taking it apart and putting it back together.

Then he moved on to his mother's watch, which he broke.

Over the intervening years, he's seen many changes to vehicles. He said he's still learning with all the new models coming out.

Last year, Kautainuk worked as a mechanic at the iron-ore mine at Marie River. In his mid-fifties, he said he didn't like the two weeks in and one week off work schedule.

"I wanted to spend more time with my family," he said.

Kautainuk's family includes five kids and eight grandkids. His oldest boy, following in dad's footsteps somewhat, is driving heavy equipment in Resolute. His oldest daughter got her certification to work in a daycare and kindergarten.

Ever the proud father, he said: "They learn from me and they learn from school."