A bisdak in Kitimat-A A +A
Sunday, July 29, 2012
LONG before he became a nurse and a councilor of the municipality of Kitimat in British Columbia in Canada, Edwin Empinado was a magician. He lugged a suitcase that contained the secrets to the vanishing coin, the chick in a hat and other tricks that teased the mind and pleased the eyes.
And long before he became a nurse and an elected public official in Kitamat, Edwin served his community in San Nicolas in Cebu City, where he grew up, and in Don Bosco Missionary Seminary in Cebu City, Don Bosco Seminary College in Calamba, Laguna and University of San Carlos College of Nursing where he studied.
He always had something to preoccupy his time beyond his hours in school and later, in the hospital. It is his nature to keep things moving and help in making people comfortable.
On this strength and a genuine desire to serve the community he finds himself in, Edwin got elected as councilor of the town of Kitimat in November 2011. He placed second among 12 candidates who ran for six councilor posts. He has two more years to go until the next elections in November 2014.
Edwin is the first natural-born Filipino to be elected to the position. Exigency called him to become a Canadian citizen yet at heart, he is as Bisdak as one could ever be. He arrived in Canada in 2004 from Dublin, Ireland.
He works at the Kitimat General Hospital as an operating room nurse. He enjoys what he does.
Never the type who idles away the day at home, Edwin sings in the masses at the Christ the King Catholic Parish in his community, fishes, kayaks, camps in parks and travels with his family. When it gets too cold in BC, that’s when he stays home and plays his wind instruments.
To him, the day should be spent productively and making someone’s life a little better than the day before or an hour ago. He is not a living saint what with his human failures, but he weaves magic into the ordinary and routinary.
He is the president of the Filipino Canadian Association of Kitimat (FCAK). It’s a post that’s akin to being mayor in a much smaller scale. As Kitimat councilor, he sits in the Advisory Commission of Persons with Disability and works with the mayor on the Housing Task Force in Kitimat and Northern Development Initiative Trust in BC.
A member of the Rotary Club of Kitimat as well, Edwin had the civic club and the FCAK work on sending medical equipment, hospital beds, computers, crutches, walkers, wheelchairs and the like to the provincial hospital and barangay clinics of Tarlac in Luzon.
When he and his family come to Cebu, they bring surgical equipment, suture and medical supplies to equip the laboratory of his alma mater, the University of San Carlos College of Nursing.
Kitikat Councilor Empinado also gives counsel to the Advisory Recreation Commission, Kitimat Health Advocacy Group, Kitimat Museum and Archives Board.
These may appear to be unexciting to people with little or without interest in these concerns, but the responsibilities are not light.
How did he ever come to this?
He was aided by his family, mentors and educators, and the great lesson-giver called Life, which has been with him for 46 years now.
“(I learned) from my mistakes and difficulties, from hard work and from self-sacrifice,” Edwin says. Magic had nothing to do with where he is.
He doesn’t take life for granted, having seen in the operating room countless episodes
of the drama of life and death. That’s why he puts enthusiasm in what he does.
He “aims for excellence and works with determination,” he says, “without forgetting who I am, a simple Filipino and a native Cebuano.”
“These do not make me a better man than anyone else but show that anyone can be successful regardless of origin, color and race,” Edwin Empinado, the nurse who knows hand tricks, says.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 30, 2012.