One of the things I am most grateful for in my career is that I have had the opportunity to meet and discuss economic development many of New Brunswick’s leading business, community and political leaders.
Somewhere in the 2007-2008 time frame I first met Pat Darrah. I had heard of Pat but never met. I was presenting at a conference and immediately after he steamrolled right up to me, introduced himself, and immediately started on a long monologue about what we need to do to get Saint John back into growth mode.
After that I would routinely receive telephone calls from him and anytime I was in Saint John speaking at an event or conference he would be there and we would chat about the city and region to which he dedicated his career.
The truth is that strong communities need folks like Pat Darrah. You may not agree with all his ideas but he was passionate about his community and put in countless hours to support projects and activities meant for its improvement.
I hope the next generation – Saint John and elsewhere in Atlantic Canada – steps up like Pat Darrah. Government is very important to the health of local communities but it is not the only game in town. We need community leaders to step up as champions and advocates, take on key volunteer roles, invest a little of their net worth philanthropically.
RIP, Pat Darrah.