Ed Staples, president of Support Our Health Care extended a welcome to all those present at the Riverside Centre on Wednesday, July 23.
The occasion was held so the community could extend both their appreciation and farewells to Dr. Evaristus Idanwekhai (Dr. Eva), whom has served the community for the past four years.
On this “bittersweet occasion,” Staples extended his appreciation to Dr. Eva for his dedication and service to the community. He then went on to introduce both Mayor Frank Armitage and Area H director, Brad Hope.
Mayor Armitage extended his gratitude to Dr. Eva for his part in keeping health services going in Princeton during the hospital crisis. “We are forever in your debt,” he said. “We wish you the very, very best. Thank you.”
Director Hope expressed that, “it has been a wonderful experience getting to know Dr. Eva—He worked very hard to get our hospital system to where it is today,” he said, “Thank you, Dr. Eva – and thank you all for coming tonight.”
A portrait of Dr. Eva himself, taken by Nienke Klaver, was presented to the doctor on behalf of SOHC as a small token of appreciation.
“It is me!” exclaimed Dr. Eva, giggling with appreciation as he wrapped Ed Staples in a big hug.
Dr. Eva and his wife Queen then cut cake for all to enjoy.
The two cakes were baked and decorated for the occasion by Jeanie Williams and April Earle.
Dr. Eva and his wife Queen are originally from Nigeria. Dr. Eva worked for Doctors Without Borders in Asia. Queen is a registered nurse who worked in the ICU at Vancouver General Hospital.
While Queen worked at VGH, Dr. Eva worked towards becoming a licensed family physician in B.C., where the two wanted to live and raise their family.
He completed the Medical Council of Canada Evaluating Exam, got some clinic training in the Burnaby Hospital and got to work preparing for the exams.
Once Dr. Eva had passed the Medical Council of Canada Exams, he was short-listed for a four month assessment in the International Medical Graduate (IMG) Residency Program.
Upon completion of the program, he took the Canadian Certification in Family Medicine (CCFP) exam in 2010 and became a fully licensed Canadian physician.
Dr. Eva and Queen, along with their twin daughters came to Princeton to do a two-year return of service. This was four years ago. The family has since grown to five children.
Dr. Eva has served the community not only as a family physician, he was instrumental in keeping services available during the ER closures, assisted in finding our three new doctors, engaged in providing Princeton General Hospital as a training ground for medical students (trained students himself) and more—all part of the successes the hospital system has today.
Although the doctor and his family are back at the coast, Dr. Eva will be working his shift in Princeton for three weeks during August.
“Princeton is a great place,” said Dr. Eva. “I have some really great friends and some very good patients. I will miss them.”