James Allum, MLA Fort Garry - Riverview
March 20, 2017
Madam Speaker, I rise to pay tribute to Arlene Last-Kolb who is working every day to make the world a better, safer place. Today, March 20, would have been her son Jessie's 27th birthday. Jessie was a young man who overcame a childhood speech impediment to graduate at the top of his class. He worked in the family business and owned his own home at the age of nineteen. But sadly, Jessie succumbed to an overdose of fentanyl in 2014.
Since then Arlene and her family have struggled with the profound despair that comes with losing a beloved child. And yet during these years of struggle, Arlene has worked tirelessly and courageously to make sure that what happened to Jessie never happens to anyone else in the hope that no other family will suffer such terrible loss. For her incredible efforts in the face of this most difficult challenge, Arlene has received many tributes. Just last week, the Winnipeg Police Service gave Arlene an “Honoured Citizenship Award”.
Since Jessie's death Arlene has challenged each and every one of us in this legislature to do one thing: to save lives. A lot of good work has been done, but there is much more we can do toward this goal. I want to ask all members of the House to join with me to honour Jessie on his birthday and to thank Arlene and her family for rising above the depths of their grief to be a champion for all those who, like Jessie, need our love and support.
Thank you Arlene: may you find peace and consolation in the memory of a great son with a beautiful soul and may your work continue to save lives.