SAINT ANDREWS – Chris Flemming is the embodiment of what it means to show up for your community.
In 1974, Flemming accepted a teaching position in the Town of Saint Andrews. Though his family was originally from New Brunswick, Flemming had no connection to the province between ages four and 18.
His intention was to continue his teaching role and stay in Saint Andrews for four years at most. Before his self-set timeline was up, he had already made the decision to make the town his long-term home.
He became highly involved in his new community and has only increased his involvement as the years have gone by.
Between his time as mayor from 1998 to 2001, chair of the Planning Advisory Committee and Planning Review and Adjustment Committee, being a co-founder of Saint Andrews Community Channel (now CHCO) and being an active member of Sir James Dunn Academy’s community where he taught for many years, the dedicated volunteer has shown up for his community.
When the Planning Advisory Committee was re-established last year, Flemming took on another term as chair without hesitation. When he was asked to run for mayor, he took on the challenge, though he had never envisioned his community involvement going that direction.
“I said, ‘Alright, you can have one term,’” Flemming shared in an interview with the Courier on Oct. 3. Flemming passed away Oct. 14 after experiencing a decline in health.
“From my experience, I can see instantly why they went to Chris,” said current mayor of Saint Andrews, Brad Henderson. “I’ve never seen anyone so concise and clear.”
His dedication to the Town of Saint Andrews has not gone unnoticed. The town nominated Flemming for the Raymond Murphy Memorial Award to recognize the strides he took for civic life within the community.
The award was created in 2017 to honour and remember Raymond Murphy, the Union of the Municipalities of New Brunswick (UMNB) past president and director of Rexton. Murphy dedicated his life to his community, which he loved dearly. The annual award is presented to someone who has shown exceptional dedication to their community.
“We are always in awe of the dedicated volunteers in municipalities across New Brunswick,” said UMNB president Alex Scholten in a news release. “As we read Mr. Flemming’s nomination letter, we knew immediately that he embodied the meaning and spirit behind this award.”
Winning an award like this, or any award, was never something on Flemming’s radar.
“The only way I can describe it is, you don’t live your life according to an award,” he said.
It was evident that after just one conversation with Flemming, he was an incredibly humble individual, and his community, his friends, agree.
“The truth is, Chris is the type of person who would rather not be recognized,” said Henderson. “But there is no one more deserving.”
From listening to Flemming and Henderson interact, it was apparent why the community chose to recognize Flemming, a kind individual with a warm, positive demeanor.
Flemming is a co-founder of CHCO and was an on-air presence for many years. Known as the Saint Andrews Community Channel when it was founded, CHCO has remained a staple within the community, something Flemming is quite proud of.
“We managed to start something that’s gone on,” he said. “The whole point behind the Saint Andrews Community Channel (now CHCO) was to allow the community to hear and see itself.”
Henderson described Flemming as someone who wraps up one commitment because he’s getting ready for another. Saint Andrews and Charlotte County are better because of volunteers and active community members like Flemming.
As the community mourns the loss of a beloved friend, teacher, and exceptional volunteer, they remember a wonderful, caring person whose impact will be felt for years to come.