A young Williams Lake man who helped arrange extra vaccine clinics with Interior Health for local residents has been recognized by the city as a ‘true leader’ and ‘community champion.’
On Tuesday, Dec. 21, Mayor Walt Cobb presented Massimo Calabrese a certificate of appreciation during the regular council meeting.
“On behalf of the community of Williams Lake, thank you for your commitment to the health and well being of our citizens as we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic,” Cobb said, reading from the certificate.
“We appreciate your focus and hard work in organizing clinics to help increase our vaccine rates.”
Cobb said Calabrese’s ability to work with Interior Health to set up the clinics was a prime of example of ‘it’s not necessarily what you know, but who you know.’
“Councillor Boehm tried to do what you did, Coun. Brenner tried and I tried and didn’t have any luck with Interior Health, (IH) so congratulations and well done young man.”
After thanking council, Massimo said he also wanted to acknowledge Paradise Cinemas owners Dave and Jas Hothi and their son Munraj, managing partner, for being open to having the IH vaccine clinics at the theatre.
He also thanked all the nurses who worked overtime from their regular hours to administer vaccines at the clinics and the Canadian Red Cross workers who assisted.
“And of course the almost 1,500 people who came out over the course of the three months to get vaccinated. It was a really great showing,” he said, noting the clinics saw about 150 people attend each week.
With the announcement Tuesday that IH will be bringing back mass community vaccine clinics for booster shots some time in the new year, Calabrese said he and the Hothis are looking at doing more at the theatre as well.
“We will still talk to Interior Health, but we have offered them to use the space again.”
Calabrese turns 20 on Dec. 28 and arrived home on Dec. 19 from the University of Victoria where he is a student.
He told council it has been great being able to work with so many people and ‘get a lot of stuff done.’
“Yesterday we hit 80 per cent of people 12 years old and up getting vaccinated in the Cariboo Chilcotin. It’s a big milestone.”