A long time Yellowknife resident has just received a prestigious award.
For nearly two decades, Dr. Pawan Chugh has been an active, and dedicated member of the Yellowknife community, and for his contributions, he has been awarded with the Athabasca University Volunteer Service Alumni Award.
Over the years, Dr. Chugh has supported a wide variety of causes. KidSport, the Multiple Sclerosis Society, the Alzheimer’s Society, the Yellowknife Seniors Society, the Northwest Territories Disabilities Council, and the Young Women’s Christian Association are just a few of the groups that he has helped along.
When asked how he felt about receiving the award, Dr. Chugh said it came as a surprise.
“I wasn’t expecting anything in return, but it’s great to be acknowledged for the work I’ve done.”
Having been born into a poor family in New Deli, India, Dr. Chugh has a firsthand understanding of how volunteer services can help people. His parents passed down important lessons about helping others, as he himself will attest.
“It’s really from my childhood. My parents have put it in me that you have to give back. I always saw them, when I was growing up, how they used to volunteer to work, or did lunches for people, and tried to help them. They actually told me that I have to give back to the community; it’s all about sharing.”
He added that those lessons of community and sharing carried over with him when he came to the North.
Tha being said, it was while living in New Deli that he experienced one of his most memorable volunteer experiences. He told of the time that he volunteered at a school for the blind. It was while helping out there, bringing them toys and food, that he saw just how much joy the children could still experience in their lives, despite their struggles.
“That’s what stands out; that I was able to spend time with them, and give them that joy, even if it was for a few hours a week. It was really something I really enjoyed, and I felt that I was making a difference in their lives.”
Both before and after his retirement in 2019, Dr. Chugh continues his work of improving the lives of Indigenous communities in the North. Today, he works to earn two more doctorate degrees from universities in Australia.
Dr. Chugh shared words of encouragement to inspire others.
“Just share. Share your knowledge, share your devotion. Even if it’s bit by bit, the satisfaction you will receive at he end of the day, that you did something meaningful will go a long way in your life.”
Congratulations, Dr. Pawan Chugh.