SOOKE HISTORY: CONTACT a fine example of Sooke’s caring nature

Group celebrates 50 years

Patricia Rudd

Patricia Rudd

Elida Peers | Contributed

Sooke’s reputation as a caring, sharing community is well earned. No single organization stands alone; there are so many caring people who volunteer their time in many ways to continue making us such a fine community. One organization is the Contact Community Assistance Society (CONTACT), which is marking its 50th anniversary this year.

Mary Abbott was a senior lady living alone and infirm in Sooke at that time who became the first telephone coordinator, taking calls from individuals who needed help. In 1970, Sooke was a village, with a population of about 3,000. Among the group’s founding members were a public health nurse Amy Chowjka and East Sooke’s pioneer humanitarian Grace Horgan.

Within the year, 30 cases were handled, and as the service became better known through the weekly newspaper, run by Maurice Tozer and later Bud Pauls, there were 100 clients the following year.

In 1974, the service was expanded to include a stock of sickroom supplies, including crutches, bedpans, wheelchairs, and walkers, which could be borrowed as households needed them.

Patricia Rudd, pictured here, a volunteer well-grounded in community affairs, joined the group in the 1970s, and for more than a quarter-century contributed her efforts, her final years as an organizer of transportation assistance.

By the 1980s, with the burgeoning population of the area, the sickroom supply cupboard expanded – its space needs were met by the use of the basement in Sooke Community Hall. Many volunteers contributed their work over these years, outstanding among them perhaps Faith Jacobsen, Margaret Frend and Nellie Brehn.

In 1996, when Betty Semple and Bergi Jones were in the group’s forefront, CONTACT provided assistance to 700 clients. Transportation of larger items such as hospital beds created its own challenges, which were met by Rob Peters, who took on the responsibility of contributing his moving vans to transport these supplies.

A decade later, we saw women such as Dianne Campbell, Pat Boon, Lynda Nex and Roberta Davies take major roles in meeting these social service needs of their fellow residents, as the population continued to grow.

Newer faces are leading this work today, carrying on the time-honoured Sooke tradition of “helping out” whatever the cause where they are needed. The image of Patricia Rudd shown here is but a symbol of many, many good-hearted people.


Elida Peers is the historian of the Sooke Region Museum.

More Sooke History

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


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

Just Posted

A Sooke woman is speaking up after she was almost tricked by a lottery scam, claiming she had won $950,000 with Set for Life Lottery. (File Photo)
‘I wanted it to be true so badly’: Sooke woman almost falls for lottery scam

88-year-old received letter stating she had won $950,000

A female prisoner sent Langford police officers a thank-you card after she spent days in their custody. (Twitter/West Shore RCMP)
Woman gives Victoria-area jail 4.5-star review in handwritten card to police after arrest

‘We don’t often get thank you cards from people who stay with us, but this was sure nice to see’: RCMP

The Starbucks in Langford’s Westshore Town Centre is one of almost 300 storefronts that the U.S. coffee giant will be shutting across Canada by the end of March. (Google Maps)
Langford’s Westshore Town Centre Starbucks to close permanently

Popular coffee chain to close 300 storefronts across Canada by end of March

Royal Bay Secondary School (Black Press Media file photo)
Sooke School District alerts community to coronavirus positive case at Royal Bay secondary

Contact tracing underway after potential COVID-19 exposure Jan. 15

Staff and volunteers at the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea were disappointed by the theft of an educational porpoise skull likely taken on Jan. 8. (Courtesy of Tina Kelly)
Well-loved porpoise skull stolen from Sidney aquarium

Skull had been used for youth and visitor education and outreach for years

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 vaccine rollout for delivery slowdown

Daily cases decline over weekend, 31 more deaths

An elk got his antlers caught up in a zip line in Youbou over the weekend. (Conservation Officer Service Photo)
Elk rescued from zip line in Youbou on Vancouver Island

Officials urge people to manage items on their property that can hurt animals

A Trail man has a lucky tin for a keepsake after it saved him from a stabbing last week. File photo
Small tin in Kootenay man’s jacket pocket saved him from stabbing: RCMP

The man was uninjured thanks to a tin in his jacket

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation Chantel Moore, 26, was fatally shot by a police officer during a wellness check in the early morning of June 4, 2020, in Edmundston, N.B. (Facebook)
Frustrated family denied access to B.C. Indigenous woman’s police shooting report

Independent investigation into B.C. woman’s fatal shooting in New Brunswick filed to Crown

Delta Police Constable Jason Martens and Dezi, a nine-year-old German Shepherd that recently retired after 10 years with Delta Police. (Photo submitted)
Dezi, a Delta police dog, retires on a high note after decade of service

Nine-year-old German Shepherd now fights over toys instead of chasing down bad guys

Nurses collect samples from a patient in a COVID suspect room in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver, Tuesday, April 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
5 British Columbians under 20 years old battled COVID-19 in ICU in recent weeks

Overall hospitalizations have fallen but young people battling the virus in hospital has increased

Canada released proposed regulations Jan. 2 for the fisheries minister to maintain Canada’s major fish stocks at sustainable levels and recover those at risk. (File photo)
New laws would cement DFO accountability to depleted fish stocks

Three B.C. salmon stocks first in line for priority attention under proposed regulations

Trees destroyed a Shoreacres home during a wind storm Jan. 13, 2021. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay woman flees just before tree crushes house

Pamala DeRosa is thankful to be alive

Most Read