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Following in grandma's footsteps

Casey Lessard
Northern News Services
Published Monday, April 2, 2012

When Sarah Taqtu passed away last year, she left a hole in the Arctic Bay cadet corps.

NNSL photo/graphic

Robyn Qaunaq, left, followed in her dad Roger Taqtu's footsteps when she joined the Arctic Bay cadet corps in January. Her grandmother, Roger's mom Sarah Taqtu, was honoured in 2010 for 14 years of translating for the corps. - photo courtesy of Ron Elliott

She also left a hole in the heart of Robyn Qaunaq, her 12-year-old granddaughter, who joined the corps after Taqtu's death. Wishing her grandmother could be around, Qaunaq had few words, but said she misses "everything" about her.

"Every time I go there, I think about her," said Qaunaq's father Roger Taqtu, who is Sarah's son. He joined cadets when the corps founded 20 years ago, and Sarah tagged along, eventually becoming a valued member of the corps as translator for those who didn't understand English. "I wish she could be here and see all the cadets and translate for us."

"She was a big supporter of the cadet program," Quttiktuq MLA Ron Elliott said of the woman he considered a second mother, noting Sarah died Oct. 3, 2011 after a long battle with cancer.

"When we started, she started translating for people who didn't speak English," Roger said. "Whenever we needed a translator, she would always say 'Yes.'"

Roger recalls the joy of being part of the corps, which he continued to help as a cadet instructor until recently.

"It was pretty fun, the drills and going out camping with cadets," he said, noting he's considering returning to the corps now that Robyn is involved. "She's following in my footsteps."

"I just felt like it," Robyn said when asked why she joined in January. "It's fun."

For Roger, it's a tribute to his mom's memory.

"I'm pretty sure she would be glad and say 'I'm proud of you for doing this,'" he said.

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