Tom and Karen Nayki set up the Nayki/Greer Family Endowment Fund in 2007 with the interest from that fund going to student scholarships and to support the local branch of the BCSPCA. “Local issues are the best,” they say, “you know it goes into the Shuswap.”
For the Nayki it is a way of giving back to the Shuswap community and to honour their families who were pioneers in the Notch Hill/Balmoral and White Lake areas. Tom’s grandparents Jaako and Ida Naykki came to White Lake in 1911 and raised their family there. Karen’s grandparents, William and Ellen Greer, had a homestead in Balmoral where they also raised their family. There are two roads in the Shuswap named after these pioneers: Greer Road in Notch Hill and Nayki Road in White Lake.
Both Karen and Tom say they know what it was like to grow up on a small farm. While money was often tight, the value of being able to help neighbors and the ability to repair just about anything was a valuable commodity.
They still hold those values today, not only by setting up an endowment fund but by volunteering to help out in their community with the local BCSPCA, Salmon Arm Fall Fair and at the Firestorm of ’98.
When they retired in 1996, world travel was at the top of their list and they have done just that visiting some 14 Countries and volunteering to help people in many of those countries. During a visit to Mexico the met some Irish people who invited them to visit in Ireland. They did and, being farm people, pitched in help with farming chores and repairs. (Tom says helping to repair things is one of his favorite activities). They got to visit and meet a segment of Ireland most tourists may miss. The World Birding Center in Texas has become a favored winter destination for the couple who help out in any capacity. They receive the satisfaction of a job well done, helping creatures and meeting people from all over the world.
Tom and Karen were married in 1974 when they changed the legal spelling of the family name from Naykki to Nayki. Tom remarks that was the way his father Waino wanted to spell the name. They bought a piece of the Nayki homestead, built a log home and raised their daughter Tawnya there. In 1991 they sold the White Lake property and bought a house in Salmon Arm. Both Tom and Karen worked at the new Canadian Safety Fuse Plant in Tappen back in the late 6o’s and worked there until 1996 when they retired.