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Quiet energy
Nick Panioyak's excellent attitude fuels Cam Bay Wellness Centre

Kassina Ryder
Northern News Services
Published Friday, November 20, 2009

IKALUKTUTIAK/CAMBRIDGE BAY - Nick Panioyak might be too quiet to boast about his work at Cambridge Bay’s Wellness Centre, but his employers are definitely eager to do the bragging for him.

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Nick Panioyak in the Cambridge Bay Wellness Centre on Nov. 9. - photo courtesy of Marie Ingram

"No task is too big or too small, you can ask him any amount of things and he always does it willingly," said Wellness Centre director Marie Ingram.

Panioyak is a janitor and driver at the centre, but his duties don’t end there. Ingram said he is always available to do whatever needs doing.

"He picks up the slack, from carving up meat to doing dishes," she said.

Ingram said it is Panioyak’s attitude that makes him such a valuable employee.

"He’s very soft spoken, very obliging, friendly," she said. "He’s always got a smile."

Panioyak, a single father to three teenage girls, began as a casual worker about eight months ago. Since then he has moved to full time. He said his favourite part of his job is meeting new people. He often chauffeurs newcomers and cruise ship tourists when they arrive in Cambridge Bay.

"I just like to get up every morning and come to work and meet new people, southerners," he said. "It’s nice, I enjoy it."

Panioyak said he often tells people about traditional activities.

"They just ask me what we eat, how do we skin caribou and prepare geese," he said. "I enjoy telling stories to southerners about how we used to live."

He said he also tells them stories passed on to him by his late grandmother.

"My grandmother used to tell me quite a few stories before she passed on," he said. "She’s been gone 20-something years and it feels like it was just last week. She was my mother and my grandmother."

When he’s not working at the centre, Panioyak said he enjoys visiting elders and other people in the community. He is currently working on getting his class 3 license so he will be able to drive the bus owned by the centre.

Ingram said everyone enjoys Panioyak's personality.

"He’s a great guy to have around," she said.

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