Working from a home office near Nanaimo, Bert is Spinal Cord Injury BC’s (SCI BC) Manager of Peer Mentor Program.
A Vancouver Island resident for most of his life, Bert enjoys watching the wildlife that appears outside his office window. He’s been with SCI BC, formerly the BC Paraplegic Association, for many years and has held a number of roles.
Bert was injured 22 years ago when he fell from a tree and became a paraplegic. Although the injury changed his life in many ways, his new and fulfilling career working with people with disabilities is a direct result of his accident. Bert was a Red Seal chef prior to his injury and has shared his cooking expertise at events like the Evening in the Kitchen, which he’s hosted as part of the North Island Peer Support Program.
He’s a wealth of experience and information and has heard pretty much every question in the book, and chances are if you call, he’s personally had a similar issue. When you talk to Bert, you’ll know he understands.
“I love what I do because of my own SCI BC peer counselor, Jamal. When I was in VGH during my second day in a wheelchair, Jamal arrived and said, ‘Let’s go for coffee in the cafeteria.’ He made me wheel down the hallway to the elevator—I hadn’t even been out of my room yet! And there he was going down the hallway about 900 miles an hour! To me, talking face to face with a guy in a wheelchair was huge, and finding out what was possible, made an enormous difference. If I can give back, and if I can do the same thing for someone else, I’m happy.”
Bert’s done a lot of work to promote accessibility around Nanaimo and started several wheelchair sports programs. His friendly, talkative personality makes him popular wherever he goes. He’s happy to share his experiences of spinal cord injury with anyone who has questions and he has a strong knowledge of relevant resources and programs.
When Bert isn’t at work, he enjoys spending time with his family, reading, visiting the ocean, cooking, and exploring.