Nelson Star Contributor
Watching an adult return to their childhood home can be a heart-warming experience.
These returning travelers look up to that cloud of early memories that remind them of how things were back then, which helps them appreciate how far Nelson has come. Memories of those who made them feel good about themselves, teachers, family and parents.
One such returning person is Margaret (Maggie) Catley-Carlson. She’s been away a very long time yet her unique star has often been visible from Nelson where she lived from age three to 17.
It was just two years ago, after a long and remarkable career providing oversight at national and international levels that she was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in recognition of making Canada and the world a better place.
In another honour (one of Canada’s highest) 10 years earlier, Catley-Carlson was made an Officer of the Order of Canada.
Preceding these honours was her beginning work at Canada’s Department of External Affairs. From there she went on to Canada’s International Development Agency, the International Institute for Environment and Development, the World Health Organization, Health and Welfare Canada and the United Nations Children’s Fund.
In every instance she served either as director or deputy-director, chair or vice-chair and she’s proven herself to be exceptionally good at what she does.
Her portfolio includes environmental protection, water conservation, children’s education and welfare, world health, food security, international economics and international relationships.
To an observer it seems she’s been to the edge of the universe; that Nelson was her launching pad, that it was a long journey home last weekend, to the place where it all began.
In full view of Elephant Mountain she has mingled with those who share her memories, picnicked with old friends, gotten acquainted with new friends and spoken Sunday morning during worship services to new graduates just starting their lives.
While at it she presented to Nelson United Church a gift waiting in her luggage: a Legacy Gift of $40,000 which she entrusted to the church for creating a platform for youth action in Nelson in the name of her mother, the late Helen Catley, a life-long member of the Church.
Last Monday, Catley-Carlson flew on to her other homes … currently in Vancouver with Global Crop Diversity and at other times in Toronto, New York, Los Angeles, London or Geneva, on to yet another national and international cause.
Thanks to Maggie Catley-Carlson for returning to the mountains of her youth where her global life of service began in order to pay it forward. We share with her a vision of a future Nelson better than it was 50 years ago, that will be even better than it is now.