Working with Courage and Care

by Janet Nicol

“I love being a first responder and saving lives,” says mental health worker Brionne Kennedy in a telephone interview with Our Times. Trained in First Aid and a member of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), Local 1004, she is employed with PHS Community Services Society, a charitable, non-profit in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. 

For the past three years she has worked at the Maple Hotel, which houses 70 residents. She works 12-hour shifts, three days a week, alongside one other co-worker. A single mother, Kennedy has been on personal leave since August 2020, and looks forward to returning to work soon.

For the full interview, go to the Our Times magazine website – https://ourtimes.ca/article/working-with-courage-and-care

More of my stories about front line workers braving the pandemic – and the valuable work of the BC Labour Heritage Centre preserving this living history – coming soon in Our Times magazine, Winter 2021.

Brionne Kennedy (right) assists a Maple Hotel resident having trouble climbing the stairs after the elevator broke down, by offering to move his belongings to a vacant room on a lower floor. PHOTOGRAPH: JOSHUA BERSON

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