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What would we do without her?

Gendron does a world of good in Fort Simpson

Derek Neary
Northern News Services

Fort Simpson (Nov 30/01) - She's a part-time Grade 4 teacher and a full-time volunteer.

There's only one Val Gendron, but you wouldn't know it from the lengthy list of organizations and activities in which she plays a key role.

When the Lions Club dissolved earlier this year, she jumped in and saved the ever-popular Halloween party at the recreation centre.

She recruited a small legion of volunteers and together they created what some described as the best Halloween event in Fort Simpson.

She's also instrumental in the Seven Spruce Golf Club, the Fort Simpson Curling Club, Canada Day celebrations and many school functions.

She's a board member with the Open Doors Society and a member of the Recreation Advisory Committee. She coaches junior curling, speed skating, figure skating, soccer, track and field and gymnastics.

"She does a lot for the community. Basically every event that goes on for children in the community, she's involved in," said Kim Myers, whose daughter, Morgan, was among the young gymnasts. "She's basically an unsung hero."

The gymnastics classes were 45 minutes each. Although the occasional little tyke wondered off for a spell, Gendron managed to keep them engaged with her enthusiasm and by quickly changing the activities.

The youngsters didn't go away empty-handed either. Gendron made up certificates with digital pictures of their individual performances as well as a group picture.

Karen Prime said her son, Noah, thoroughly enjoyed his time at gymnastics over the past two months.

"He loved every minute of it," she said. "She (Gendron) is patient and makes it fun for them. She gets to know them on an individual basis."

Lee Scobie, who sits on the Recreation Advisory Committee, said Gendron knows how to get things done.

"She's very much into having good things happen for the community for her kids and everyone else's," said Scobie. "She's very strong, very determined and very dedicated. She's a go-getter."

Fellow teacher and coach Carnie Williams added, "She has a very friendly attitude. Kids like to be around her ... she's always looking for the positives in the kids. No matter what their level of athletic ability, they know she's going to pull out the best in them."

Gendron's young charges appreciate her as well.

"She makes us work harder by her encouragement," said 12-year-old soccer player Lynette Anderson.

Nicole Norwegian, 11, added, "She's a nice coach. She doesn't get mad if we don't score a goal and she doesn't get mad if we don't win the game."