The fresh-baked aroma of Sarah Simon’s home-cooked meals is going to be missed when she retires from the Ka-Na-Chi-Hih Specialized Solvent Abuse Treatment Centre in Thunder Bay.
“We’re going to miss Sarah,” says Marsha Ruben, a primary counsellor at Ka-Na-Chi-Hih. “Like we said, the good old-fashioned home cooking is probably what the clients are going to miss. Knowing that she cared for the clients too, that’s always a bonus. She was happy to come to work to cook for them.”
Simon, a casual cook with Ka-Na-Chi-Hih, is retiring after about 10 years of service with the Thunder Bay-based treatment centre. Her husband Vince Simon is the executive director of Ka-Na-Chi-Hih.
“I’m happy for her personally, but I’m going to miss her for Ka-Na-Chi-Hih because she is all about Ka-Na-Chi-Hih,” says Darlene Maki, treatment coordinator at Ka-Na-Chi-Hih. “We are definitely going to miss her.”
Simon says Vince will also be retiring in about 14 months, so they plan to go back home to New Brunswick and do some travelling. Their home community is Elsipogtog First Nation, formerly known as Big Cove.
“We’ve been here for almost 20 years,” Simon says. “We have three older children plus we have six grandchildren there in New Brunswick.”
Simon originally thought they would only stay in Thunder Bay for four or five years.
“Thunder Bay kind of grew on us,” Simon says. “There were so many things we could do. In our (home) community it was further away, about an hour’s drive, if we wanted to go bowling or if we wanted to go play pool.”
Simon says she even qualified for a northern Ontario women’s bowling championship while in Thunder Bay.
“We went down to the Sudbury area and that’s where we had to qualify for the provincial,” Simon says. “We lost out there.”
Simon misses the smell of the salt air back home in Elsipogtog.
“It’s that salt air, it’s so different from here,” Simon says. “Just the smell of it, it’s so awesome.”
Simon also has two children and three grandchildren in Thunder Bay. Both of her children attended her retirement celebration at Ka-Na-Chi-Hih on April 23.
Thunder Bay Police Const. Bob Simon says family members were always invited to special events at Ka-Na-Chi-Hih.
“It was mom’s home cooking, so it wasn’t anything different from going to her home cooking on Sundays to coming here on special events and tasting her food,” Bob says. “It was always good, so by the comments around the table from staff and clients, they will really miss her.”
Germaine Simon, file management clerk with Dilico Anishinabek Family Care, says her mother deserves to enjoy her life and her family now that she is retiring.
“She puts her heart into what she does,” Germaine says. “She is a really good cook and she makes it with love.”
Vince appreciates the “goodness and happiness” that Simon brought to Ka-Na-Chi-Hih during her time with the treatment centre.
“The staff and the clients have loved her during the 10 years she has worked here,” Vince says. “Ka-Na-Chi-Hih has been great to us over the years. I started working here in 1998 and I’ve seen this place rise and be credible out there.”
Ka-Na-Chi-Hih provides one-on-one counselling and group work for clients. Circles are held every morning and evening in the cultural room and a visiting Elder also holds ceremonies in the sweat lodge twice a month.