A man who grew up in Trail and was a key player in health care in the region is being celebrated this week.
The late Ken Talarico’s life is being honoured in a gathering at Talarico Place, which was renamed when Talarico passed at 59-years-old in 1999, to acknowledge his 33 years of dedication to the hospital from accountant to administrator.
“Life was never the same after Ken,” says Castlegar resident Brenda Eaton, who worked as a LPN and in administrative at the Castlegar and District Hospital for 33 years.
“When he left it’s like the air had gone out of a balloon for our community. I think we really had a hard time, we lost him, we lost our hospital and everything changed.”
Talk of the “good old days,” before the Castlegar hospital lost some of its services and became a health centre, spiraled into planning Ken Talarico Day.
Beyond bringing old health care pals together to acknowledge Talarico’s contributions, the event will leave a legacy to the region.
“Now we have the entire history of health care in this region – who was involved, what decisions were made and why,” said Eaton. “It just went from this tiny spark and it took off like a prairie fire.”
Eaton worked at the Castlegar hospital when Interior Health took over and Trail became the regional hospital.
Prior to these changes, she recalls a healthy and happy time.
“It was kind of the golden age of health care, people are now anxious about their health and the atmosphere has changed,” she said. “I think it’s good to remember all the time and energy that a person such as Ken put in.”
Historical documents and pictures of when the Castlegar and District Hospital came into being as well as of those who were instrumental in providing health care to the region will be on display at the event that kicks off at 2 p.m. Tuesday.
Talarico’s family and friends will also share personal insight and memories.