The pandemic has 'worked perfectly' for this long-suffering Kelowna city councillor | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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The pandemic has 'worked perfectly' for this long-suffering Kelowna city councillor

Kelowna Coun. Charlie Hodge
May 10, 2021 - 7:00 AM

Despite the death, sickness and economic devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are occasionally some upsides even for people with serious health problems.

For Kelowna city councillor Charlie Hodge, whose lung illness requires him to be on oxygen pretty well 24 hours a day, it has helped keep him alive.

“COVID has worked perfectly,” he told iNFOnews.ca. “I never have to leave the house. The biggest problem for me is getting pneumonia or getting COVID or the flu but, not having to be out in the public like I was before has really protected me. It has actually worked well for me because you don’t get the flu bug unless you’re around people.”

Hodge is serving his fourth term on council, first being elected in 2008. He now attends meetings remotely and remains as feisty as ever.

Just before the pandemic hit, in January 2020, he spent days in intensive care in Kelowna General Hospital and said he almost died twice during the election campaign in 2018.

READ MORE: Kelowna city councillor Charlie Hodge in intensive care

“I’m dying,” he has no hesitation in saying. “I’ve been dying for nine years. It’s not good. But the beautiful thing is, my disease is in my lungs. It’s not in my head or my heart or anywhere else. It’s not like I have to run laps at council. I just have to sit at the table and talk, which I can do.”

He does miss the “dance at the table,” he said. “I miss the interaction with the people and the public.”

And, he noted, it has been a hard term.

“The whole street crime and homelessness thing has been really hard on some of us,” Hodge said. “I love this job, I really do. But it is much more mentally and emotionally taxing than a lot of people think. It doesn’t matter where you go – grocery store, pub, home – people call you up and they’re just so rude sometimes. It takes a bite out of you.”

The next municipal election will be held Oct. 15, 2022.

Will he run again?

“If my health is up to it, yes,” Hodge said. “Council gives me a lust for life. It gives me a purpose. I love it.”

He’s technically retired and has finished his third book, which comes out next week, and is starting work on a new book “just for fun.”

The new book, called Lost Souls of Lakewood: The History and Mystery of the Blaylock's Mansion, is historical fiction set in the Blaylock Mansion near Nelson.


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