By day, Chris Lee is a mild-mannered service clerk at Save-On-Foods in Whitehorse. Cheerful and friendly, he is known for his ever-changing, crazy coloured hair. After work, however, Lee is a superhero. He’s a community leader who sits on the board of directors for three non-profit organizations dedicated to supporting people living with disabilities. And he’s a Special Olympics athlete and gold medalist. Lee is matter-of-fact about his impressive resume: “I felt this was something I could do with my skills.”
The 31 year-old began his athletic career with soccer, playing defense for his team, the Charging Moose. Seven years ago, he also took up curling. “I wasn’t active enough, and it was a sport I wanted to try!” After 16 years of competing in the Special Olympics, he has an impressive 12 medals, including several golds and a silver medal in soccer from the 2018 Vancouver games. For Lee, becoming a Special Olympian not only benefited his health, it also boosted his self-esteem. “Playing sports gives me more confidence in what I do as a person,” he asserts.
This confidence has encouraged Lee’s community advocacy. He is the Athlete Representative on the Special Olympics Yukon board of directors. He sits on the board of the Yukon Association for Community Living, which promotes the inclusion of people with disabilities. Most recently, he was appointed as an advocate for people with disabilities on the People First Society of Yukon board.
Lee is clearly a passionate advocate and an accomplished athlete. But when union representative Kelly Malcolmson first met him, she saw a different side: union activist. “Chris has an amazing relationship with customers and staff. I want to get him more involved with the union, because we need more disability advocates like him,” she explains. “I think he would make a great shop steward!”
Lee plans to stand as an alternate shop steward in his store’s next elections and is excited about future opportunities with UFCW 1518. Being a steward is a natural fit, and an obvious next step in his advocacy work: “I like helping people,” says Lee. “And I also like the union!”
Find out more about our social justice mandate and the UFCW Canada Human Rights, Equity and Diversity Committee here.