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Guest editorial: Campaign in Powell River highlights commitment through COVID challenges

The Face Behind the Mask campaign featured community’s caring
HAVING IMPACT: Dr. Werner Schoeman was one of the faces featured in Powell River Division of Family Practice’s recent Faces of the Pandemic campaign. Here he is pictured with the finalized display.

Challenges in life can bring out the best in people. They call on us for selflessness and caring, they test our character and ask us to confront our fears with courage.

We have been seeing people all over our community stepping up to the challenges of the pandemic over the past year, and we think it’s important to recognize and celebrate that.

This was the impetus behind our recent campaign, The Face Behind the Mask, which featured a different face each week over a period of three months. Some of the faces were health-care workers, and others were essential workers who have been working to support family, friends, acquaintances, colleagues and strangers.

We asked this group a set of questions, and the answers were often touching and entertaining to read.

Dr. Werner Schoeman, an emergency physician who works at Powell River General Hospital, noted in his Q&A: “So many patients casually say, ‘thanks for all the work you all are doing,’ as they head out the door after a consultation. These seemingly minor remarks of gratitude have a huge impact on all our medical staff, making the whole situation so much more bearable.”

Many people featured in the campaign, such as RCMP officer Paula Perry and high school teacher Jonathan Dyck, reflected on the fact that being able to get outside, exercise and enjoy nature has been an important stress reliever through the pandemic.

Registered nurse Nova Cleghorn offered this advice to people who are struggling:

“You are cared about by more people than you think, and it is okay to not be okay. We need to talk openly about how we are doing so we can care for and support each other. You are the most important person in your world, and you must do something for yourself every day.

“This could be going for a walk, talking to a friend, or singing your favourite song at the top of your lungs. You have done an amazing job this last year of being brave and adapting to all the changes that have been thrown at you.”

There have been wonderful responses to the posts, featuring the faces in this campaign on social media, and more than one of the people featured told us how much it cheered them up to read the positive responses and thanks from readers.

We’d love to see the spirit of this campaign extended into the community. Who has made an impact on your life over this year? Have you let them know how you feel?

There are three places you can see all the faces featured in this campaign: in the lobby at Powell River General Hospital, at the Town Centre mall, and online at

~ Powell River Physicians COVID-19 Steering Group