Our town lost another resident last week, a great example of someone who learned persistence, hard work and the resilience to overcome the obstacles in life.
On May 25 my wife and I attended the funeral of Wayne Petracek. Was Wayne a good friend? No. Was he a business acquaintance? No. Was he a sports buddy? No, none of these. Wayne was a simple unassuming man who blended into the fabric of our Ponoka community. You probably saw Wayne in the downtown area of Ponoka and never gave him a second glance. Why then does Wayne deserve even this space in our newspaper?
My wife and I have only known Wayne for about four years, so how could he have made such a lasting impression in such a short time? Wayne, during his active working career, had sustained a serious fall resulting in a brain injury, not to mention other physical injuries that caused him to leave the work force early in his life. Part of his physical injury was a paralysis of one side of his body, difficulty in speech and he walked with a distinct limp. Every day after Wayne’s accident became a struggle, he did without many of the comforts of life. Some days it was a real fight just to get up.
Throughout the year you could see Wayne shovelling snow for the downtown businesses and in the summer, mowing lawns. Wayne could often be found enjoying the always friendly and kind hospitality of staff at Advance School Equipment. There were probably other jobs Wayne did I am unaware of because he had a strong work ethic. You would think that with all Wayne’s physical and mental issues it would have been much easier to just give up; for most of us that is probably what we would have done. When I see a lone tree, green with growth, hanging onto a rough crag on a windy mountain, I always think of Wayne. You see, that lone tree has anchored itself on just the smallest piece of the mountain and loves life so much it hangs on through all kinds of weather. Wayne, like the tree, was persistent, fighting every day to hang onto life when most others would have let go.
Wayne was never afraid of hard work even when it tortured his body and made him ache for days afterwards. Yes, Wayne lived right here in our community exhibiting his work ethic, persistence and resilience to all life threw at him. That example was out there on our streets every day for our community to observe and learn from. Wayne is no longer with us, he is with the Good Lord, and you see Jesus is a friend who walks in when the world walks out on us. We all need to be loved and remembered; I don’t know if Wayne was a religious man, but he was a child of God.
No matter what your performance on the playing field of life today, the Good Lord wants to reward you with the gift of everlasting life if you will but follow and believe. There are others in our community just like Wayne, take time to say hello and greet them, that someone may be you.
Goodbye Wayne, you are loved and you are remembered.