Michelle Mungall pays tribute to Phyllis Nash during Social Work Month

M. Mungall: Each year during March social workers and millions of Canadians celebrate all that social workers do for our society, during National Social Work Month. This year’s theme is “Social work: profession of choice.”

Nelson’s own Phyllis Nash embodies this year’s theme to a T. She has been a force of light and love in countless people’s lives and has gone above and beyond in contributing to community, to B.C. and to Canada.

Hailing from Prince George, Phyllis first started working as a ministry social worker in northern B.C. over 45 years ago. She was there when countless families found themselves in crisis and when children had nowhere else to turn. Phyllis was one of the many unsung heroes on the front lines of social work.

During those days, Phyllis garnered much experience and knowledge and took that to the front of the social work classes at the University of Victoria. In the 1980s the Kootenays had the good fortune of acquiring Phyllis when she began teaching at Selkirk College.

Although she retired from teaching in 2004, she did not stop working. In 2010 the Association of Social Workers here in B.C. celebrated her career and contributions after she stepped down as president of their board. She is still serving, though, and is active on both the provincial and national boards of social workers.

But I know Phyllis as the incredible community volunteer. She is active on the boards of Nelson CARES, Nelson Social Planning Action Network and the Kootenay Boundary Community Services Co-operative.

She also continues to serve as the co-chair for the Nelson Committee on Homelessness, and it is from here that I know Phyllis best. As her former employee, Phyllis taught me much about life, work and pursuing social justice.

Phyllis, thanks is not enough for all that you do and for all that social workers do for our province.