Dr. Paul Stent was the recipient of some much-deserved recognition on May 29.
Stent was given the Measuring up the North Award of Excellence for his many years of service to the community at a lunchtime event at the Stuart Lake Golf Club.
Mayor Rob MacDougall called Stent a “pillar of the community” in his speech recognizing Stent’s dedication to the people of Fort St. James over the years.
MacDougall said it came as somewhat of a shock when he found out Stent was the recipient, because every community under 5,000 people north of 100 Mile House was competing in the category in which Dr. Stent was nominated.
“It was a shock somewhat, but like I said, very well-deserved,” said MacDougall.
In the District of Fort St. James’ letter nominating Stent, they praised Stent’s past and present work in providing local health care.
The letter spoke of Dr. Stent’s choice to stay on in Fort St. James even when he was the only physician left, and to continue to work to develop health care in the community to make it more sustainable.
“He persevered to not only provide continuous and essential health services for the community, but also assisted in reshaping the medical clinic organizational model used to attract physicians, and has now seen four new physicians hired on to bring about a full physician complement” said the letter.
MacDougall acknowledged the contribution Stent has made to the community by shouldering the significant load of so many people’s health on his shoulders, as well as making it possible for seniors to “age in place.”
Stent accepted his award with his usual humble manner, thanking the First Nations in the area for their support and for his local friends the Playfairs and Rasmussens.
“We’ve got our own family in Fort St. James now,” he said.
Stent said it has been a privilege to be involved in the birth of over 500 babies throgh the years in the community, and he thanked his staff for putting up with the short staffing and stress over the years.
Stent was also given a birthday cake in honour of his 64th birthday, which he celebrated on May 30.
While Dr. Stent had been hoping to retire earlier this year, he has since agreed to stay on full time in order to be the necessary supervisor for the new physicians, the Van Zyls, who as foreign-trained doctors require a local physician to oversee their initial transition here in Canada.
He now hopes to aim for scaling back his practice by the end of next year instead.