Ralph Raina has had a singular impact on the life and times of our community. Take a look at most photographs of Kemptville Municipal Council in the decades before amalgamation, and Ralph is likely to be there, either standing with fellow councillors, or taking the seat of honour as Mayor. But retirement from politics has certainly not meant that Ralph has taken it easy, content to sit on his deck overlooking the South Branch.

He has addressed the North Grenville Council to suggest that they actively seek to have a federal government building, and the staff and money that go along with it, within the municipality. He has addressed service clubs and individuals, still campaigning on behalf of his community. Not at all bad for a gentleman who will be 95 years old next month.

Ralph has faced many challenges in his long life, struggles that might have made a lesser man bitter or withdrawn. His story is a long one, well worth the telling, and I hope that he will sit down soon and relive his experiences as a record of a life worth living.

To add to his long list of achievements, Ralph has now been granted a patent on an invention which he believes could be important in our energy-demanding society. He has invented a water-powered generator to provide electricity using what could be seen as a very old, and yet very revolutionary device. And, yes, revolutionary is an appropriate word, as the rotations of the device generates the power.

The patent explains that the invention “provides a simple and effective passive turbine unit that uses the flow of water or air to rotate a main runner and produce a continuous and intermittent electricity from streams, rivers, tidal water and high wind areas”. Ralph believes that the various configurations that can be adopted by his device could provide power in many different settings. A small version of the unit could be set up in a stream so campers and hikers could recharge their cell phones, or light their tents.

A combination of the units could even be used in the Bay of Fundy, with its huge tidal range, as the device can use water flowing in any direction. As Ralph points out, the device would be especially useful in undeveloped areas that have no electrical service, but do have rivers or high wind available to them.

I think that most if not all of us, would be happy to think that we could be as productive, mentally alive, and community-engaged in our 90s as Ralph Raina continues to be.

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