The Adult Daycare Program helped celebrate the 100th birthday of Pentti Rauman, locally known as Ben, who was instrumental in the development of 100 Mile House.
“He’s amazing. He still swims, you know,” said Liz Jones of the Adult Day Service Program. “At 99, he was still swimming at Horse Lake and he fully intends on doing it again this year. He’s such an amazing fellow. He’s done so much and even though he can’t really see or hear a lot anymore he loves being around people and he loves being active.”
Rauman worked hard and loves to play hard, according to his son, Hon.
The elder Rauman came to Canada from Finland in the early 1951 but didn’t come to the 100 Mile House area until the early 1960s, after spending time in Inuvik, N.W.T. and similar communities.
“Work, I guess,” said Hon on why his father came to the area. “Met some people and decided to stay and clean up his act and settle down a wee bit…[He’s] a very hard worker. He’s still going strong now but of course, with his age, he’s slowed down.”
Rauman is also a veteran of the Winter War (he was 19 at the time), a military conflict between Finland and the Soviet Union from 1939-40, when the Second World War was still in it’s ‘phoney war’ phase.
He helped build the [old part of] 100 Mile House District General Hospital, the elementary and junior school, the Red Coach Inn, and several wells and homes in the area.
In attendance of the party, along with friends and family, was long-term friend MLA Donna Barnett and Mayor Mitch Campsall.
Barnett told stories of the old days when you could virtually build anything without a permit. Jones also recalled a few stories, which Hon originally told her about his father.
“There’s a couple of other stories we know about,” recalled Jones. “We know that Ben dug a well on Finn Road and it was about 90-feet deep. My understanding is that 90-feet is a pretty deep well and he dug it by hand until he couldn’t dig anymore, then he was using dynamite, which we used to use a lot back then. Ben sent his other son off to Williams Lake to Home Hardware – who would know that you can get dynamite at Home Hardware, but you could – and his 17-year-old son said I need some dynamite and some caps and they sold it to him.”
The Adult Day Service Program, it should be important to note, is separate from Fischer Place.
The difference is that the people in the program still live at home or with family and not in Fischer Place. Rauman still lives on his own.
“The girls [from the program] went overboard to do all this stuff. They really pamper him lots. They arranged for all the plaques from the Gov. Gen, the Queen and stuff like that. Without them that probably wouldn’t have got done. I praise them 100 per cent. It’s incredible. A big, big thanks to them, for sure,” said Hon.