David Stanonik Pacific Northern Gas Scholarship

David Stanonik was a 1997 graduate of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at UVic. On December 21, 1998 his 24-year-young life came to an abrupt and tragic end. Employed as a junior engineer at the Pacific Northern Gas Vancouver head office in the late summer of 1997, he was instrumental in designing the proposed gas distribution system at Wonowon (Mile 101 on the Alaska Highway), a $5 million project planned for that area. On December 20, 1998 David arrived in his home-town of Fort St. John, looking forward to celebrating the holidays with family and long-time friends. Despite severe winter conditions, he ventured out the following morning to acquire a hands-on evaluation of the Wonowon project. David was returning to Fort St. John late in the afternoon in a blinding snow storm, when his vehicle was struck head-on by a tractor-trailer unit that was traveling at an estimated 100 kilometers per hour and attempting to pass a service truck. In commemoration of his life, Pacific Northern Gas has named a gas regulating station located within the city of Fort St. John, the "David Stanonik Station". A permanent naming stone, made of sandstone from the Peace River, has been placed at the station in close proximity to a public walking path.

David's parents immigrated to Fort St. John in 1973 from Yugoslavia, now known as the Republic of Slovenia. David was born on December 1, 1974 and grew up in Fort St. John. David was the quintessential child, brother, friend, student and employee. His cheerfulness, devotion, compassion, dedication and zest for life were infusive. He enjoyed every opportunity to spend time with his family and friends. At an early age he possessed an incredible natural gymnastic ability and trained with serious intensity, eventually developing into an accomplished athlete which earned him a third-place standing Canada-wide in Power Floor Tumbling. The City of Fort St. John presented a Merit Citation to David's family at a Dinner of Champions ceremony held June 1, 1999, recognizing posthumously David's "sporting prowess in the field of gymnastics" including these accomplishments:

• 1988 - Western Canadian Championships: 1st place in Tumbling and Trampoline

• 1989 - British Columbia Championships: 1st place in Tumbling and Trampoline

• 1989 - National Championships in Edmonton, AB: 3rd place bronze medal in Power Tumbling

In addition to a rigorous gymnastic regime, David discovered wrestling in the sixth grade and received many awards before deciding to abandon the sport due to the roughness and punishment that he observed other students enduring. Like most other pursuits he undertook in life, David could have been a champion at wrestling as well. He approached downhill skiing without fear, and also took pleasure in experiencing parachuting and bungee jumping. He always wanted to play hockey but his father, Jacob, steered him toward the nonviolent gym. Not to be deterred, David joined a league in Vancouver after he commenced his career with Pacific Northern Gas. He believed in living life to the fullest.

His academic achievements were no less impressive: in 1992, he received the Premier's Excellence Award for "excelling in academic studies as well as demonstrating outstanding citizenship qualities through involvement in community and school activities." He qualified for Shad Valley, a month long summer camp for the best-rounded students in the country. He was also awarded a scholarship for his mechanical engineering studies in the UVic co-op program, which he augmented with hard work every other semester to help pay his way through university. Despite the personal accomplishments and innate talents that seemed to manifest themselves in virtually every facet of his life, David remained humble. He treated everyone as equals, with a kindness and devotion unique beyond his years.

Dynamic, daring and dedicated are words that fall short of describing David's attributes. He was very much a shining star who made a lasting impression on all who knew him; of course, none more so than his loving parents Jacob and Sonja, and his adoring sister and friend, Erma. They and his friends and colleagues would give anything to have David's vibrant yet gentle presence in this world that he so loved. In their combined eulogy, his life-long friends described David as a man of purpose, perseverance and inspiration. David is one of the deceased workers honoured on the Worker's Compensation Board's Canadian Life Quilt.

David's mechanical engineering class and many of his friends also honour him by contributing to the David Stanonik Pacific Northern Gas Scholarship. He left an incredible legacy that can be perpetuated by each student who earns the honor of receiving the David Stanonik Pacific Northern Gas Scholarship. Accept the scholarship with humble pride, as a tribute to the indelible mark David left upon those whose lives he touched, and strive to make the world a better place as he would have done.

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