Hospitality and hope in Radium Hot Springs
Mike Gray’s most significant accomplishment has little to do with his business and everything to do with community care
The owner of the Horsethief Creek Pub & Eatery employs about 20 local residents in Radium Hot Spring, B.C. He is also a new village councillor and a member of the local chamber of commerce board of directors. Those responsibilities alone would make Mike Gray a shoo-in for our list of influencers in the Columbia Valley, but he offers much more to his community.
Gray’s casual style is focused, quite simply, on progress—he doesn’t care if it’s his idea that works or someone else’s, as long as things move forward. He has added a bright note to weeknights at the Horsethief Pub with the introduction of Live Music Mondays, where local musicians perform from 7 to 9 p.m. His customers—particularly the many who work in the hospitality industry—are loving this addition to their Monday night social options.
During the off-season, from fall to spring, the Horsethief Pub ends each week with Give Back Sunday, when 15 per cent of its food sales for the day are donated to a selected local non-profit or charitable organization. This idea came from Patrick Tolchard of Valley Zipline Adventures, who encourages the charities to promote the initiative. A busy Sunday for the Horsethief Pub means a bigger cheque for the charity.
What is potentially the most significant of Gray’s accomplishments has nothing to do with his business and everything to do with community care. His concern about the Fentanyl threat led him to seek Naloxone training for himself and his staff.
When Gray raised the issue at a local council meeting, he learned that even the local first responders had not had overdose training, nor did they have Naloxone kits available. A local pharmacy put Gray in touch with the Shuswap Band, whose public health people, he said, were fantastic. They accessed kits and provided training for the pub staff.
Through the Radium Hot Springs volunteer fire chief, Dave Dixon, and others on the front lines of emergency care, efforts are now in progress to obtain training for first responders across the Columbia Valley.
“I’m not a participant in that lifestyle—I don’t even drink,” Gray said, “but it seems to me that with the current overdose problem, the punishment doesn’t fit the crime. We haven’t had to use a kit so far and I hope we never do. I hope the training goes completely to waste. But if the need arises, I’ll be darned if we aren’t able to help. We want to offer people the opportunity to have another chance.”