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Mayor proud of year-round effort by Rankin Inlet volunteers

Rankin Inlet is a model of consistency when it comes to rising up and meeting any challenge, said its mayor.

The new arena was set to become an active field hospital as part of the plan put together to protect the community should Covid-19 invade Rankin Inlet during the 2020 pandemic. Photo courtesy David Clark

Harry Towtongie said he’s never seen a group of people put things together so smoothly as what the community has in place should Covid-19 ever invade Rankin.

He said it’s nothing short of impressive when you see the new arena set to see duty as a field hospital, the drop-in centre to be used as a screening unit, beds available for those stricken with the virus at Keewatin Hall and Nanuq Lodge, and the list goes on.

“It took a lot of work on some people’s part, but everyone came together so well and it all went so smoothly that it almost seemed easy, but it certainly wasn’t,” said Towtongie.

“It was really something to see so many volunteers take time off from their busy schedules to make a community as ready as it can be, especially one lacking the resources it should have in dealing with this kind of pandemic.

“We were so proud to see all this happen. Even when the original plan was in place, as an ongoing thing, they kept coming back to do more and help more, including gathering extra food and distributing it around the community.

“It’s awesome, this place.”

Rosalinde (baby) King is thrilled to have firefighters, from left Chloe Norris, Mark Wyatt (fire chief) and Troy Innukshuk present her with a drive-by birthday visit in Rankin Inlet this past month. Mayor Harry Towtongie said the community’s strong base of volunteers came in handy when planning defences against Covid-19 for Rankin Inlet. Photo courtesy RIFD

Towtongie said it was evident during the planning for Covid-19 the strength the community has through its solid base of volunteers.

He said the work never stops in Rankin for supporting hockey, soccer, volleyball and numerous other sports and activities.

“It’s amazing all the money they raise in support of different things in Rankin, and the number of volunteers who come out to run bingo games and help with the various sporting events and hamlet activities.

“It’s ongoing every year, all the time, in our community, and the volunteers did everything we needed in case Covid-19 made it here. They just did it like clockwork.

“Everyone who needed to get together – all the important people like the health-care workers, firefighters, RCMP and people from Nunavut Literacy – they came together, brought everything they needed together, and made it work.”

Towtongie said Rankin Inlet often sets the example for other communities to follow, especially when it comes to tough decisions that need to be made.

He said Rankin is known for standing by the decisions it makes and working tirelessly to ensure those decisions work for the best of the community.

“People looking in – especially around the North – see this community takes the risk of making decisions that are tough sometimes and others follow suit.

“We follow what other communities are doing well and learn from them, as well.

“That’s so important for us as both a regional leader and the transportation hub of the Kivalliq and many parts of Nunavut.”