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B.C. bylaw officer praised for his kindness to cancer patient

After a woman fell on a sidewalk, Todd Richardson sat with her, kept her warm and waited with her until emergency services arrived on site.
Bylaw officer Todd Richardson is being praised for his kind actions in comforting a cancer patient who fell near KGH on Tuesday.

He didn’t want an act of kindness by a City of Kelowna bylaw officer to go unrecognized.

So, Aaron Hilgerdenaar emailed the offices of the mayor and council to express his appreciation for the actions of Todd Richardson after Hilgerdenaar’s stepmother fell on a sidewalk near Kelowna General Hospital Tuesday.

Marlene is undergoing chemotherapy for cancer. It was the second time she had fallen in recent week. The previous one left her with a broken tailbone, Aaron explains.

“The first person who attended and provided her aid was a bylaw officer named [Todd] Richardson. I am advised that he sat with her, kept her warm and waited with her until emergency services arrived on site. He kindly called her sweetheart, rubbed her hands and was a kind, calming presence — she lets me know that this is exactly what she needed,” he wrote in the email to city hall.

“Things like that are important to extend appreciation and kudos to because often that work happens and people aren’t made aware of the important work that public servants can do," adds Aaron.

He’s offering a sincere thank you to Richardson for his kindness.

"Especially when we're undergoing significant hardship. That's a sign of values in the community, when we stop and help each other out."

Bylaw services operations manager Ken Hunter says it’s gratifying to receive these kinds of acknowledgements for officers’ interactions with the public.

“The role and expectations of bylaw officers has evolved immensely over the years and requires a vast array of training / skill sets. A fundamental principle of our officers’ training involves their service being delivered compassionately and this level professionalism is an expectation of all our officers.”

City manager Doug Gilchrist also responded to Hilgerdenaar’s email, thanking him for taking the time to send the note.

“As you can appreciate, being a bylaw officer in today's environment is very difficult work, and it's rewarding to hear that our bylaw staff still take the time to genuinely help out our citizens in need, despite the pressures they are under. I know that our staff are passionate about public service and it is an organizational value we hold close. I'll be sure that Tom gets some recognition for his efforts,” wrote Gilchrist.

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