Dennis Renaud (fourth from right) holds the cheque he got from his former colleagues at Courtenay Return-It to help him out since he was diagnosed with cancer. Photo by Mike Chouinard

Courtenay bottle depot holds drive to help former worker

Dennis Renaud was diagnosed with cancer only months after retiring

Dennis Renaud would’ve handled a lot of bottles over his years at Courtenay Return-It. He wouldn’t have known though that bottles would come to his aid during a crisis after retiring.

When he finished work in January 2020, he obviously left a few friends behind at the depot. The 71-year-old was looking forward to retirement with his partner Barb, but in April, only three months after finishing his job, he got the news he’d been diagnosed with stage four lung cancer, which has required chemotherapy and medication for treatment as well as pain.

His former employer and colleagues put their efforts together to help him out during treatment. One of the employees, Richard Cook, came up with an idea to hold a bottle drive to raise funds for Renaud so he can enjoy this stage of his life.

The business held the drive on Saturday, July 25. Hundreds of people through the Comox Valley donated their bottles, while a large team of staff and volunteers gave their time to sort the bottles. Courtenay Return-It employees Cook, Joel Johnson, Linda Billings, Hazel Chung, Gordon Oostenbrink and Richard Dimery took part in the effort, as did community members Matthew Orlowsky, Karen Forsyth-Lavoie, Cindy Albert, Natasha Villeneuve and Lori Antunovic.

In the end, they raised enough money to present Renaud with a cheque for $13,676.20. They raised another $90 in cash donations since they cut the cheque and had another couple hundred dollars in an account to help him. The bottle depot has held other drives before, but the most money they had raised was about $2,500.

RELATED STORY: Return-It recycling depot service returns to Courtenay

As to how he was going to use the money, Renaud said he didn’t know how exactly – maybe take a helicopter flight to the top of the glacier and take a photo from the summit.

At the presentation on the evening of July 30, owner Sook Lee read a message to him, which her daughter Emily Kim translated.

“The biggest blessing while running a business is having good employees,” she said, crediting him for his effort and never making excuses. “As a business owner, I am lucky to have such an employee and friend.”

Renaud started work at the bottle depot in 2006 when it was at a different location, then left for a little over a year before returning. The way he described his approach to working at Return-It explains why his employer appreciated him.

“I’m a strong supporter of customer service,” he said.

When Lee was finished reading her letter, she and Renaud each made a socially distanced hugging gesture. He said he was touched by what his colleagues did, though he admitted he was not a man of many words.

“I’m very overwhelmed,” he said. “I’ve been told by a lot of people I’m very positive.”



mike.chouinard@comoxvalleyrecord.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

CancerComox Valley

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Father Charles has devoted his life to protecting and preserving natural habitats and has inspired generations of volunteers to work together to protect and preserve forests and rivers. Photo submitted
Valley environmentalist and Catholic priest-hermit Father Charles Brandt passes away

He devoted his life to protecting and preserving natural habitats

Carolyn and Steve Touhey came across a pod of humpback whales while on their boat Sunday, Oct. 25. Photo supplied
VIDEO: Boaters encounter pod of humpbacks near Comox

A Comox Valley family had a meeting with a humpback whale family… Continue reading

Candice Woloshyn prepares her flower beds for the next season at her ‘Dirty Girl Flowers’ farm in Merville. Despite the pandemic, Woloshyn was able to sustain her homegrown business as community members opted for regular deliveries of fresh cut flowers. Photo by Binny Paul/ Campbell River Mirror.
Vancouver Island flower farmers were blooming as the pandemic wilted everything else

Floriculturists saw increased subscriptions as fresh flowers became a ‘sight for sore eyes’ during isolation

The Bernice Friesen novel, “Universal Disorder,” will be launched via Zoom on Nov. 14. Photo supplied.
Fat Oyster Reading Series hosting online launch of new novel by Comox Valley author

Fanny Bay’s Fat Oyster Reading Series is going digital, for the launch… Continue reading

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. records 217 more COVID-19 cases, mask use urged

Infection spike continues, 21 senior facilities affected

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Los Angeles Dodgers celebrate after defeating the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 to win the baseball World Series in Game 6 Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
L.A. Dodgers beat Rays 3-1 to win 1st World Series title since 1988

National League champs claim crown in six games

Seven-year-old Aaliyah Rosa was found dead in an apartment in Langley in July. (Langley Advance Times files)
Child’s body cold, no pulse: Off-duty cop testifies in Langley mother’s murder trial

The seven-year-old girl’s mother faces a first-degree murder charge

A picture of John taken at Children’s Hospital Vancouver last week. Photo courtesy, Alicia Sewid.
RCMP investigating after young boy run over by SUV in Campbell River parking lot

The seven-year-old has multiple injuries including a broken pelvis and was admitted to Children’s Hospital in Vancouver

People march during a climate strike in Montreal, Friday, Sept. 27, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Judge rejects 15 youths’ climate change lawsuit against Canadian government

Justice Michael Manson has granted the government’s motion to strike the plaintiffs’ claim

Starting Saturday and continuing until April 3, the Comox Valley Farmers Market will operate at the Native Sons Hall and the parking lot between the hall and the Sid Williams Theatre. (File photo)
Comox Valley Farmers Market secures space

Starting Saturday, Oct. 31, the Comox Valley Farmers Market will expand its… Continue reading

Most Read