SIDNEY — Inspired by her father Eugene Beaubien and a pioneering family headed by her grandfather Alphonse, long-time Sidney resident Jeannete Hughes has penned a book called Wilderness Dream.
Her work outlines the courage and determination of her family of French Canadian descent, which moved to British Columbia to homestead in the Bridge River area (one mountain pass east of Whistler). The volume is not only an account of her family, but a collection of Hughes’ family photos during the homesteading years. Her family came to B.C. 70 years ago, settling in spectacular wilderness.
It’s her family she said, that inspired her to excel. Hughes trained as a nurse in Victoria at St. Joseph’s Hospital and has been an advocate for the disabled in the areas of housing and transportation. She was forced to leave nursing in 1976, when she began writing. Hughes served on provincial and federal health advisory committees and served for nine years on Sidney town council.
In her 20-plus years in Sidney, Hughes worked with local clubs and associations, involved schools in Access Awareness Week and enlisted student volunteers to help with the Christmas Dinner (which she started 10 years ago) for people who would otherwise be alone.
All of this volunteering has earned Hughes two awards: the 2012 Hearts of the Community Award for Lifetime Service and the 2012 Leadership Victoria Alumni Award.
Wilderness Dream is on sale at Sidney’s Tanners Books.
— With files from the Peninsula News Review and Laurel McIntyre