“Be kind, be calm, be safe.”
If you live in B.C. — and probably some places beyond its borders too — you likely know who this six-word saying can be attributed to.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has been a reassuring voice for many during the uncertainty of the continuing pandemic. Inspiring online fan accounts, a feature article in The New York Times and even an honorary footwear collaboration, Henry has developed a fan base, locally and beyond.
“Dr. Bonnie Henry is our modern-day hero,” Talia Tanaka, the founder and designer of Love Medals, says.
The Victoria-based entrepreneur had marvelled at Henry’s poise during the pandemic. And she hoped to, somehow, show her appreciation for the doctor’s leadership by giving her one of her handmade metal designs.
The problem was, she just didn’t know how to go about doing it.
In conversation with a friend about Henry and her influence, Tanaka shared her thoughts on Henry being the “ideal recipient” for one of her artisan metalwork creations. She never imagined that the discussion would actually lead to Henry wearing one of her designs, she says.
“It turned out he had a connection,” Tanaka says of her friend. “A week later, I was handing Dr. Henry’s Love Medal to the photographer for all her pressers. A few hours later, he emailed me a photo of Dr. Bonnie Henry wearing it.”
According to Tanaka, Henry was already familiar with her designs, which are created, she says, as “a way for people to connect and honour each other.” Available as medals, pins, rings and necklaces, each one crafted from bronze or recycled sterling silver, the designs come with a certificate and an inspiring message chosen for the recipient.
“In a time when humanity is being tested to reassess how we live life on this small and beautiful planet, Love Medals is part of a growing effort to connect social purpose with conscious consumption,” Tanaka explains of the ultimate mission for her designs.
Seeing Henry pictured wearing a Love Medal has created an overwhelming “flow of support” for the brand from the public, and Henry’s fans in particular, the designer says.
And Tanaka’s six-year-old son has also been among the appreciative voices of support.
“He knows who Dr. Henry is and references her as, ‘The person who has been keeping us safe,’ ” Tanaka says. “Then, we saw her wearing it on TV. It was a true honour to acknowledge Dr. Henry and then to have her acknowledge a small business in return.”
The Vancouver Sun, Aharris@postmedia.com