My Mom Judy. (Deb Meissner photo)

My Mom Judy. (Deb Meissner photo)

Mom leaves a legacy of safety for kids in the Bulkley Valley

Deb’s mom leaves a legacy for generations.

Last year for Mother’s Day, I spoke about the women, mothers, daughters, grandmothers and granddaughters my beautiful family has. They are each unique, strong, intelligent and fiercely independent women.

The matriarch of our family is my mom Judy. She leads, inspires, guides, and mentors each of us in this large family with much knowledge and wisdom, and she always does so with pride and much love.

One thing I have known about my mom all my life, is she is a very creative thinker. She is an “idea person,” and she shares her ideas in many unique ways.

Residents in Smithers, Houston and Hazelton, may be surprised to know in 1988, the school district brought my mom to share her knowledge of a program she had spearheaded in the Salem, Oregon called The Drug and Alcohol Free Grad. Most just know it as DAF Grad now, and it has changed over the years, but mom brought all the information, books and experience she had implemented in Oregon to share where her young grandchildren were, right here.

You see, grad in Smithers, for years, involved the students graduating, partying in what we used to call the “gravel pit.” Parents tried to keep kids from drinking and driving, but they were definitely not happy about the situation, and it did not prevent deaths on grad weekend.

What my mom shared with the educators and parents of all three communities did.

She never envisioned the three communities could pull off DAF grads at all three schools that year, but the communities embraced the ideas and ran with them, and for the first time in years, kids had a fun adventure on grad night that kept them safe and sound.

DAF was my mom’s way of sharing her knowledge with our communities and a way of looking out for her beloved grandchildren, years before they were ever even in school. As far as I know, DAF grad, in some form, still runs in these communities, and soon my grandchildren, her great-grandchildren, will have the chance to attend a safe grad.

Her legacy here brings me great pride.

Mom has had so many creative and wonderful ideas and programs over the years, it boggles my mind. She would challenge her students, then the entire staff of her schools, to accomplish amazing things. From DAF Grad to Olympics of the Mind, mom was always creative in her approach to education, and complete dedication to new and inventive ways of learning for all children.

For the last few decades, mom has been involved in setting up programs in her community, a Polar Express for kids at Christmas, Heritage Week activities for the celebration of the pioneer roots in her community. Heck, over the winter mom broke her leg and spent time in a rehab hospital where, instead of hanging out in her room working on herself, she was out making calls on the other patients, and then started helping out with Bingo each day.

It cracks me up that the patients begged her to come back and do activities with them after she was discharged.

She told them “she might,” and I for one believe her.

Parents have many roles in life, and I am in awe of parents who raise children in this day and age. Life seems more complicated. It takes special people to raise kids to be responsible, kind and loving individuals. Productive members of society so to speak.

I was lucky, and still am, that my parents are always remarkable role models for me and my clan. They keep us on track, in touch, encouraged and feeling deeply loved.

Especially my mom. She is our guiding light and our “Momma Bear.” I hope each of you have experienced the unconditional love that we have been blessed with.

Happy Mother’s Day Momma, I love you beyond everything.


Judy, left and daughter Debby right. (Tom Patterson photo)

Judy, left and daughter Debby right. (Tom Patterson photo)