Creating a legacy of compassion

Creating a legacy of compassion

Barry and Bonnie Huybens create bursaries for Paramedic and Emergency Management students in their will

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 to NAIT in their wills. They met while starting their careers in emergency services—Barry (Paramedic ’87) 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. We saw the immediacy of our work in helping people during their personal crisis."

The couple carefully weighed their options, agreeing to make donations to the post-secondary institutions where they each began their professional journeys—and help train the next generation of health-care professionals.

Planning an estate gift in will

While planning their estate, Bonnie and Barry discussed giving to a charity in their will. Animal lovers at heart—two Siamese cats affectionately share their home—naturally, the Huybens considered giving to one of the local animal shelters. As they researched online, they discovered other registered charities like NAIT.

The couple recalled the personal challenges that they faced while completing their post-secondary education, particularly, the long hours spent working and going to school – Bonnie as a nursing student and Barry as a paramedic. So they agreed to direct part of their estate, also known as a bequest, to post-secondary students.

The Huybens established two bursaries, one for students in nursing at Bonnie’s university and the other for students in NAIT’s Paramedic and Emergency Management programs. The bursaries support students facing financial hardship, providing critical funding 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 careers in healthcare

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, iStrategic Advisors Inc.

“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.”