Andy Pawlyk and his Little Brother Chris Selathamby celebrated being matched for 40 years through Big Brothers Big Sisters. Photo Submitted

40-year Big Brother match a gift to Lacombe man

Andy Pawlyk and his Little Brother Chris Selathamby honoured

LACOMBE – A 40-year friendship between Andy Pawlyk and Chris Selathamby started with personal heartbreak for Pawlyk.

In the mid-1970s, Pawlyk and his family realized they would not be able to conceive a child of their own, which left a void in their lives. That void led them to approach what was then known as Red Deer Big Brothers.

The agency, now known as Big Brothers-Big Sisters of Lacombe and District, matched Pawlyk with Selathamby.

“It took awhile for the mother to approve of letting go of her son to be with me, but on Oct. 18, 1978, it became final,” Pawlyk said. “We were officially together.”

The pair, who were recently recognized for their 40-year match, initially took an interest in photography.

“I was into photography, and so he and I were taking pictures at City Hall Park,” Pawlyk said.

Since then, their tie has grown into a lasting friendship that has joined two families together.

“It brought Chris, his mom and his family closer and included in our family. We were all one,” he said.

That connection has included Selathamby being named Pawlyk’s adopted daughter’s godfather, as well as a push by both families to help each other out over the course of four decades.

“As time went by, we came to the conclusion that all of us never really texted each other — we always spoke. By talking to each other on the phone, it helped us pick up on each other’s feelings,” Pawlyk said.

Mentorship has not only given Pawlyk a life-long friend, it has also given him a will to continue to support Lacombe Big Brothers-Big Sisters.

“My theory is that if you help a child stay off the streets, you have done your job. I know all those people that mentor today try hard and they all do a good job,” he said, adding that in his experience, a child always will love someone they can look up to.

“One hour minimum a week is all they ask. When I started, it was two hours. Chris and I broke that rule,” he said.

Pawlyk said having their friendship recognized was an honour, and he is currently researching whether their 40-year match is a record.

“It is nice to know that we are still matched, even though we are 51 and 71,” he said.



todd.vaughan@lacombeexpress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Three teenage boys in hospital after opioid overdoses at Alberta house party

STRATHMORE, Alta. — Police suspect three teenage boys who are in critical… Continue reading

Poll suggests Canadian trust in science falling, scientists thought ‘elitist’

A survey suggests that the trust Canadians place in science may be… Continue reading

Trudeau attacks troika of Tories in first salvo for federal battle for Ontario

OTTAWA — Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau fired the first shot in Monday’s… Continue reading

Global postal union meets amid Trump threat to pull US out

GENEVA — The effects of President Donald Trump’s standoff with China could… Continue reading

Your community calendar

Tuesday Bower Place Community Association Seniors Card and Coffee party at 1:30… Continue reading

Police investigating homicide after woman found dead in residential building in Winnipeg

Winnipeg police say they are investigating a homicide after a woman was… Continue reading

Samsung’s folding phone hits the US

NEW YORK — Samsung’s folding phone is finally hitting the U.S. Samsung… Continue reading

Thomas Cook collapse means headaches for Transat as partnership deal dies

MONTREAL — Tour operator Transat Inc. says it could face fallout from… Continue reading

Mikkelson sees evidence of success in women’s hockey showcase in Toronto

TORONTO — Two-time Olympic gold medallist Meaghan Mikkelson woke up in her… Continue reading

Canada downs Mexico 109-53 in women’s basketball AmeriCup opener

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Jamie Scott had 21 points, including five… Continue reading

Pink and red combos, Hollywood gold on the Emmys carpet

NEW YORK — Julia Louis-Dreyfus stunned in classic Hollywood gold, Zendaya donned… Continue reading

‘Everest has not gone away:’ Sharon Wood tells story of historic summit in book

CANMORE, Alta. — More than three decades after becoming the first woman… Continue reading

Most Read