>>By Rory Luxmoore
Spring 2013, Issue #32
Ray Brosseuk’s life may resemble a UNICEF TV commercial. But this humanitarian who calls Revelstoke his home, is real and very inspiring.
His childhood was far from ordinary.
“I spent 11 years without a pair of shoes,” he chuckles when reflecting on his early years. He was born in Vancouver, yet Ray soon found himself living in Hawaii, the South Pacific and then Central America, where his father was volunteering as a teacher, building contractor and mechanic.
Ray has countless memories of times spent in exotic locales. He remembers being the only white boy in a rural school on the South Pacific island of Tonga. Students would have their fingers rapped with a stick if they answered questions incorrectly. This was motivation to learn the language and realize he did not get special treatment.
BY THE NUMBERS:
Donated supplies: 1.5 million kg
Countries lived in: 6
Adopted children: 4
Near death experiences: 3
Gold machines built: 30
Soup served in foreign countries per year: 3.5 million cups
Lives changed: 1,000s
While we sit at a table during this interview, Ray reaches over to show me a slight discolouration in has forearm, explaining his first near death experience.
At age 15 he had a job baking bread in a fire-heated adobe oven. He received third degree bums to his torso, arms and head when the oven blew up. Coincidentally, Ray was rushed to the hospital his father helped build.
While his parents wanted him to return to the U.S. to receive medical attention, Ray refused. Instead, he welcomed the use of a traditional healer, who collected oils and herbs from the nearby forest to treat him. Several weeks of treatments helped Ray to make a miraculous recovery.
At age 16 Ray thought he should make some money on his own but choosing only one career path proved difficult. First he joined his father and brother in opening an auto shop in Bella Coola. A year later he bought some land and built himself a log home, cutting and milling his own lumber. His next job was as a dental assistant for 18 months when he was 20. He received some strange looks from the patients, who remembered the man who used to work on their rusty vehicles, now had his fingers in their mouths.
A couple of years later Ray found himself in Likely, B.C. where he caught the gold mining bug. As he puts it “the gold snagged me.” In 1986, he built his first machine to extract gold from the earth. This led to his present endevour of designing and building gold machines, which are transported to destinations worldwide. The unique design allows for capture of up to 95 per cent of gold material and uses significantly less water than other methods of extraction. The machine is easily transported, can process 100 cubic yards of material per hour, and can be run by one operator. It is no wonder he is busy filling orders for new machines.
As you can see from Ray’s early years he is a brilliant and divergent thinker. While many of us visualize in black and white pictures, Ray can create in his mind through colour movies.
In 1992, he was watching the America’s Cup sailing race on TV and commented to his wife
that he could design a faster yacht. Ray spent a few days visualizing the movement of the boat through the water being able to critique the flaws and make design changes in his head. A week later he created a revolutionary keel design that played a crucial to the winning team in the race.
Likewise, the Gold Machine was formed in his head. Once he was content with his virtual design he grabbed his torch and started to build.
Ray credits his early childhood experiences for significantly shaping who he is today.
“I would not have been able to think, design or feel the way I do without those formative years in Central America,” he says, “It gave me freedom for my brain and allowed me to see the bigger picture of what the world is all about.”
Fortunately, Ray has chosen to put his creative mind and generous heart to good use. In 1997, he formed the humanitarian organization called Partners For Others, which operates in the Big Eddy part of Revelstoke. Since then, they have shipped over 1.5 million kilograms of donated supplies to villages in southern Africa, the South Pacific, the Caribbean and Asia.
Supplies include: clothing, food, medical equipment, computers, building supplies as well as farming and industrial equipment. The inspiration for the organization came from a twenty-year school reunion in Fiji.
Ray realized how fortunate we are as creative mind and an ability to go for what he wants and to get it. Fortunately, what he wants is to make the world a better place. Ray says, “ I only have 80 years, so I want to do the best I can do with it. I can’t take anything with me and I don’t want it wasted.”
It is apparent Ray gets a great deal from a life of giving.
“There is nothing that you could give me that is greater than helping others,” he says. “Seeing the took on a boy’s face when he receives a soccer ball and a t-shirt makes all the hard work worthwhile.”
The power of giving is infectious. Ray says the help he gives others is often paid forward because the people he has helped are keen to help others less fortunate than themselves.
Behind each good person is a strong support system.
Ray is aware of how fortunate he is to be born into a family that gave him the opportunity and freedom to be himself. His wife Jackie and six children stand proudly with him as does the community of Revelstoke, providing overwhelming support for Partners For Others.
[Partners For Others continues to ship supplies to countries in need. Volunteers are welcome Tuesday evenings from 6:00 pm to 12:00 am, and Thursday mornings from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm to help sort supplies. Find out more about Partners for Others at partnersforothers.com // Check out Ray’s Gold Machine at thegoldmachine.ca ]
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