Creating a legacy of compassion
After years of working in emergency services, Barry and Bonnie Huybens’ mutual appreciation for learning and the desire to care for others led them to leave a legacy gift in their wills. They met while starting their careers in emergency services—Barry as a paramedic and Bonnie as a nurse.
Over the years, the couple has encountered several unforgettable moments.
“Both of us saw difficult situations in our front-line roles,” Barry admits. “We saw the immediacy for our work in helping people during their personal crises.”
The couple carefully weighed their options and agreed on making the donation to the post-secondary institutions where they each began their professional journey—and led them to each other.
Planning their gift
While planning their estate, Bonnie began researching online, and thought about organizations they could potentially support. Animal lovers at heart—two Siamese cats affectionately share their home—the Huybens considered establishing a donation to one of the local animal shelters they support.
They also started thinking about the personal challenges that they faced while completing their post-secondary education. As a nursing student, Bonnie remembered working and going to school. Barry, who also worked full-time while he was a NAIT student, agreed that it made more and more sense to donate to post-secondary students.
The Huybens decided to direct part of their estate, also known as a bequest, to establish two bursaries, one for students in nursing and the other for students in NAIT’s Paramedic and Emergency Management programs. The bursaries will be awarded to students facing financial hardship, providing critical support when they need it most.
“I think it’s an area that can be overlooked,” Bonnie explains. “It’s important to remember where you came from and continue supporting your program so future students can be successful.”
Rewarding career paths
Reflecting back on their early careers, the couple both agree that their chosen professions had a significant role in their lives. A decade after they first met in the emergency unit, the Huybens designed and built their home together—working on every detail from the open concept floor plan to the rock garden adorning the front yard.
It’s easy to see why they chose the neighbourhood—not too far away from their house lie the paths that traverse to the Whitemud and Blackmud ravines.
“We recently saw a moose and her two young calves,” Barry says, pointing at one of the trails. “It was amazing to see.”
Today, the Huybens have both traded the emergency room for a much calmer environment, working from their home offices. Using her expertise as a nurse, Bonnie is a clinical research monitor to a pharmaceutical company. After many years in the pre-hospital and emergency management fields, Barry now operates his own consulting firm.
“We wouldn’t be where we are today if we hadn’t completed our education,” Barry says looking at his partner of nearly 30 years. “Our two pathways led us together and allowed us to have a good life.”