A new community service group has been created in Hay River, and is already in action.
It’s called the Pharus Group, with Pharus being a Latin word meaning beacon or light.
The idea for the non-profit organization originated with Keith Dohey, who brought a group of his friends into the concept.
Dohey, president of the Pharus Group and a life-long resident of Hay River, said different groups in town are always working on something, but they have to rely on the same volunteers which is where Pharus comes in, as a boost to volunteer resources.
“It always seems like it’s the same people everywhere,” said Dohey, who also happens to be a town councillor. “And we were kind of talking about the idea that some of these groups sometimes need just a little bit extra help, and we could be there for the other groups.”
Plus, the Pharus Group also plans to do its own projects, with the first being a temporary outdoor rink it erected on Oct. 12 in the parking lot of the Pine Point Ball Diamond.
The outdoor rink is a co-operative initiative with the Town of Hay River, which owns the facility.
Dohey said the Pharus Group pitched the idea to the recreation board to set up the rink to replace an older one that has not been used for a number of years because it is sitting on top of a water reservoir.
The new organization is also going to look after the rink throughout the winter as a way to help the town save some money. It will also move the rink to a new location in the spring, once the town decides where it should be permanently located.
Dohey thinks the outdoor rink was a good starting project for the Pharus Group, noting it will be selling advertising on the outside boards to raise money for future projects.
The new organization, which is a little more than a month old and has already been formed as an official society, consists of five people. Along with Dohey, there are Sarah Ladik, Jordan Stackhouse, Alice Coates and Ryan Mills.
“I’ve been thinking of doing something like this for a while. It sort of all just came together,” said Dohey. “We had just the right people at just the right time … Everybody played an equal role in actually getting it done and put together.”
All members of the Pharus Group realize that things don’t just happen by themselves, he said. “When you want something to happen or you want to make something better, sometimes you got to go do it yourself. You can’t stand there with your hands in your pockets and talk about how things should be.”
The Pharus Group is welcomed by Ian Frankton, director of recreation and community services with the Town of Hay River, who said it did a great job in leading the outdoor rink project.
“Pharus provides great benefit to the community and models a good example,” he said. “They showed a strong vision in their inaugural project of an old fashion rink raisin’. The group’s vision aligned well with a recommendation from the recreation board, and council showed their support with this project.”
Frankton said the new organization seems to have a focus on the younger segment of the community.
“I believe the Pharus Group demonstrated a lot of character in this first project, and I hope they continue to show the importance of young adults giving back to their community and helping to improve the lives of others around them,” he said.
Frankton and a number of other people, including a few young hockey players, volunteered to help out on Oct. 12 to get the outdoor rink built.
Dohey said the Pharus Group is now looking at other projects.
“We’ve actually been approached already by a couple of different groups to help out with a couple of things,” he said. “I won’t say who yet, because we’re not 100 per cent sure what we’re doing or who we’re helping.”
The Pharus Group is also willing to accept new members.
Dohey said he would like to have about eight people on the board of directors, but he also noted anyone can volunteer to help out with future projects.
— Paul Bickford