‘For the greater good’
Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 27/04/2022 (404 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
This month’s Random Acts of Kindness column begins with an email I received just before Christmas from a woman named Sandra Edmondson, who lives in Oakville, Ont., and wrote to tell me about her friend Kyla Simms, who lives in Winnipeg and had been knitting toques for this city’s less fortunate.
“I have a friend who has been making quality hats with her own money for the homeless population in Winnipeg,” Sandra wrote. “She started with a goal of 50 but has long surpassed this goal.
“She is one amazing woman who has dedicated her life to the well-being of others and she is still doing it to this day. She has a heart so big and is making a difference in the lives of everyone around her.
“I believe people like this are real heroes and should be noticed for their generosity and love. We need more people like this in our community and world.”
Before contacting Kyla, I called Sandra to find out how the pair had met and if Kyla knew about her email.
It turned out that Kyla didn’t know Sandra had contacted me. Sandra also told me that the pair had met while attending a PTSD treatment program at the Homewood Health Centre in Guelph, Ont.
She also told me that Kyla is a 23-year veteran of Canada’s Armed Forces who “always seems to be motivated by doing something for the greater good.”
☐ ☐ ☐
Kyla laughed when I told her about Sandra’s email and how I wanted to write about her in this column. But she was soon telling her story.
Kyla grew up in Hudson Bay, Sask., and joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1991. She served for 23 years, mostly in Winnipeg, working in communications, administration and finance and rising to the rank of sergeant. In 2014, she served as part of a mission in Golan Heights (disputed territory between Israel and Syria), where she suffered serious back and head injuries after a fall from the top of a 10-foot building.
She was medically released from the RCAF in 2014 and moved back to Winnipeg, as this is where most of her friends live, and she has been living here peacefully in the West End while dealing with PTSD, chronic pain and post-concussion issues.
She began knitting toques last year after learning how during her stay at Homewood.
“I started out wanting to make 50 and ended up making 95, which I donated to the Main Street Project, to help keep people warm this winter,” she said.
After noticing how her cats seemed to enjoy the soft ‘baby blanket’ wool she used to make some of her toques, Kyla soon decided to start making pet blankets, which she intends to donate to D’Arcy’s A.R.C. and the Winnipeg Humane Society.
“I’ve made about 15 of them so far, and I just started making another one,” she said.
A lifelong pet owner, Simms said she likes the idea of doing something that will help comfort animals in shelters and she admits that the knitting has helped bring her peace, as well.
“It’s very peaceful, it keeps you busy and it occupies your mind,” she said.
As she spoke, Kyla’s own cats, Kyanna and Raven, were lounging on blankets she’d made for them. They seemed to have found some peace, as well.
John Kendle is managing editor of the Free Press Community Review.
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Managing editor, Canstar Community News
John Kendle is managing editor of Canstar Community News, which publishes the Free Press Community Review. Email him at: email@example.com