New FCSS worker tackles old issues

A long-time resident to this area said he would like to see more people work together to solve some old community issues that don’t seem to want to go away.
Richard Comeau is the newest member to join Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) in McLennan.
Although Comeau is new to the FCSS field, he said he brings with him a wealth of public relations experience. Comeau has worked as a corrections officer at the Peace River Jail after he spent 10 years in Edmonton providing burial services for a funeral home. Comeau grew up in a small Nampa-area community called Marie Reine before moving to Edmonton in 1974. He returned to the area 10 years later and has lived in McLennan with wife Doris and son Paul since 1989.
While FCSS has something of a broader mandate to serve groups with various needs in the larger community, Comeau said his desire is to concentrate more on the youth. He said he believes youth can contribute to the community in much the same way FCSS works to formulate and implement programs and projects, encouraging cooperation between individuals, agencies, groups or town councils.
“Talk of a skateboard park started off with a bang some time ago but I heard that it didn’t go smoothly after that and the youth got discouraged,” he said.
He plans to begin consulting with the youth this month in McLennan. Comeau said it’s his job to secure funding to kick-start a program into existence, but then it’s up to the program’s recipients to organize themselves and keep the new programs or projects running over the longer term.
Another key component to his work is to help people understand what is at their disposal to help make their dreams attainable.
Perhaps the biggest challenge to his job, however, is to get people with competing interests to sit down and talk constructively at the negotiation table.
“When somebody has a problem, it’s best to sit down and compromise. If both parties are willing to sit down and compromise, then one-half of the battle is won. But if a problem continues on for 10 years, it’s because there’s a lack of communication.”
Comeau said it’s this vision that is empowering him to press on with the job of finding solutions to other existing problems.
Medical transportation is an ongoing problem for many area seniors. More than ever, as seniors continue to increase in age and in number, Comeau said he’s hoping farmers can help because new farming technology means some farmers can do more in less time.
He admits it’s hard recruiting volunteers to help during work hours, but he’s hoping that an increase in mileage pay to help pay for gas will help attract volunteer workers.

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