Northern Exposure

by British Columbia
Categories: Blog, Community, Feature, Stories

Northern Exposure

Cameron Eggie was a transitional housing caseworker at The Salvation Army’s Gateway of Hope in Langley, B.C., when the chaplain at the time, Major Henri Regamey, encouraged him to explore chaplaincy, and mentored him in the process. While completing a certificate in chaplaincy and spiritual care at Booth University College, Eggie was hired at Vancouver Harbour Light on the Downtown Eastside.

“On my first day, Major Regamey introduced me to everyone,” says Eggie. “But he didn’t start with the staff—he took me outside to the food line. There were about 200-300 people standing in line for a meal, and he walked me through, shaking every single person’s hand.”

As Eggie has grown in leadership within The Salvation Army, that introduction has stayed with him. “It really helped shape my idea of what The Salvation Army is all about,” says Eggie. “Beyond our programs and systems, we’re here for this long lunch line of people.”

Today, Eggie is the executive director of the Army’s Northern Centre of Hope in Fort St. John, B.C., where he serves along with his wife, Tatjana.

“The Salvation Army is an organization with the capacity and depth to help in so many different situations,” he says. “And it’s encouraging to know the community wants us here—it makes you want to do good work.”

Downward Spiral

Eggie is from Selkirk, Manitoba, a small city just outside Winnipeg. Once a settlement of the Peguis First Nation, the government relocated the reserve about 175 kilometres north in 1907. Eggie’s great-grandfather was forced to choose between losing his status, friends and cultural identity or moving to the distant reserve. He chose to stay.

In the mid ’90s, Canada determined that the surrender of this land was invalid, and that restitution was necessary. While Eggie has status as a member of the Peguis First Nation, he didn’t grow up with a strong sense of his cultural heritage …


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