- Our Town
'Whatever I am doing, I am investing in the future'
Avi Rajan might be too humble to say it, but he is constantly doing his part in helping the town he loves in any way he can.
Avi, the owner of the Subway in Smithers, moved here with his wife and daughter just five years ago. Before that, he was living in Prince Rupert but it wasn't the town he wanted to stay. Finding Smithers was a dream come true.
"I have a 10-year-old daughter; when we moved here she was roughly six years old. What we were looking for is a safe place and a good community to raise our family. This appeared to be and we have been proven correct that this is an excellent community to raise kids and a family. It's a family-oriented community," he said
Avi is originally from New Delhi, India. He came to Canada when he was in his 30s.
He explained if you were to compare the two countries, he could honestly say he feels Canada is a better place to raise a family.
"This is home. But this became more than home, more than India ever was. I have my siblings over there and my dad, but this is home for us," he said.
His love for Smithers is apparent in everything he does. For Avi, Smithers is like those communities you hear about, where everyone knows each other.
He reflects back to his daughter, he feels safe in knowing that he is raising her somewhere like this.
"This community is so good that if she is out there somewhere by herself and she needs help, I am more than sure that somebody I know will stop by and give her a hand," he said.
And because of these characteristics, he wants to do his part in helping the community.
"I am investing in my future. As a person who lives in this community and who is wanting to live in this community for the rest of my life, whatever I am doing, I am investing in the future," he said.
If he can help, he doesn't let an opportunity pass him by. Avi wouldn't go into specifics into places he has donated or offered help, but he explained whenever he can give back to the community, he will.
Most recently he donated $1,600 towards the Bulkley Valley Healthcare and Hospital Foundation's Dining Room Quality Improvement Project at Bulkley Lodge.
He said over the years he's done what he can. It's not as much as he wants or what other people have or will do, but he believes in sharing whatever he has.
He explained donating to the Bulkley Lodge was a sign of respect for the elders as well as investing in the future.
"A respect to our elders and the elderly who are needing care. My dad who just walked in with me, that's what I have been taught by my parents. The elders in the family and the elderly in the community, they are to be taken care of, they are to be respected. And if BV lodge is taking care of them on my behalf or if I can help them take care of the elderly, I will," he said.
Avi recognizes that he is in a different position than others with the ability to donate and offer help where he can.
He is humbled at the opportunity to pour back into somewhere he calls home. He talked about showing a sign of respect to the community.
"We do Christmas lunches for the community: Various organizations like the firehall, Northern Health, paramedics and others, just to thank them for what they do. They do way more than I would ever do. They save lives, so to thank them, this is the community service we are doing," he said.
It isn't only organizations Avi is trying to help and engage with. If you pop into Avi's store during the warmer weather, you can borrow a paddle and ball to play some ping-pong at the table located just outside his store.
"What I have been doing and what I am doing and what I will be doing in the future is solely based on that fact. I am just doing my bit in the community and that's all. That's what I believe in," said Avi.
The future is bright for Smithers, according to Avi. As for now, he said he will continue to do his bit to make Smithers the place he calls home.