Mike Bourns and Pat Comer’s son Dustin was a devoted father to his young son Riven, a hardworking business owner, an avid outdoorsman, and a natural leader. His full and inspiring life came to a much-too-early end after a car accident in May 2019.
Rocked by the loss of their son, Mike and Pat chose to honour him by establishing the Dustin Bourns Leadership Award, an annual bursary awarded to an Adventure Tourism Business Operations (ATBO) diploma student who has demonstrated strong leadership skills.
“Completing the ATBO program was a turning point in Dustin’s life,” Mike said. “It was when he was a student in that program that his leadership abilities really came to light and he realized he could turn his passion into a career he loved.
“One assignment he was given was to create a business plan. That plan then lead directly to him purchasing and operating a backcountry lodge, the Diana Lake Lodge.”
Mike and Pat are carrying on Dustin’s plans for Diana Lake Lodge as a way to remain connected to their beloved son. The Dustin Bourns Leadership Award provides another means to keep his memory alive, and to help future students who are following in his footsteps.
“The College provides an opportunity for those who don’t want to live in large urban centres, or to move away from communities they love, to pursue vocations that have significance to them,” Pat said. “The ATBO program was so important to Dustin. Receiving financial support along the way would have been a meaningful reward for his hard work. We want a part of his legacy to include helping other ATBO students to accomplish their dreams.”