A Wisdom Warrior. Member Spotlight: Dr. Jack DeGruchy

Dr. Jack DeGruchy has lived his life striving to sing out and take risks. He has been an ultra-active Rotarian for more than 35 years and became a recent member of MBBI. Jack’s professional background has been in the field of dentistry, where he has specialized in 3D imaging of the head and neck, diagnosis, and treatment planning. He started his own company, Canadian Digital Imaging, seven years ago in Kelowna, British Columbia.

The Encounter

When he was 10 years old, he had a transformative experience in the prairies of Saskatchewan. “It was a beautiful evening and the sun was setting. I was trying to speak the language of a nighthawk,” he recalled. Mimicking the bird’s call for a few hours, a nighthawk swooped down beside him, no more than 10 feet away and approached him. “It taught me that all species are intelligent, but they are afraid of human beings. Once it knew that it could trust me, then it wanted to form a relationship with me.” This defining moment spurred on his appreciation of other species and the amazing beauty of creation.

“When you and I speak, all the books you’ve ever read, all the people you’ve ever met, all the experiences you’ve ever had are coming together right now with all the books I’ve ever read, all the people I’ve ever met, and all the experiences I’ve had. It creates a third brain operating and whatever we figure out together will be infinitely better than anything you or I could do alone.” 

Honoring Our Elders

In 2015, Jack created a foundation called Hour4Our which encourages people to contribute an hour of their time or wage to support ideas and solutions for more peaceful and sustainable communities. “I ask people to close their eyes for just a minute to see their forefathers/foremothers, to see particularly, what they were doing to build a better world for you.” He expressed how important it is to acknowledge what those before us did to ensure that we could exist in a better world than the one which they experienced “There is a lot of honor to that sort of contribution by those that are older than us, and I really think it is essential to respect our elders.”

The foundation is aimed at doing good not only for the present but particularly for generations to come, for all species. Jack believes that we are all one humanity and that we often divide ourselves into different categories that are often foisted upon us. “I am adamant that when we do things together when we collaborate together, we can do better than we can alone.” He is working towards growing the foundation so that it can support more good work and can help young people move forward and realize their ideas.

The Rights of Nature and Grateful Believers

Jack has been involved with environmental conservation and activism for many years and admires those that love and protect the Earth. Respect for nature has become part of him and he encourages others to “have the vision of an eagle, the discernment of an owl, the pathfinding of a wolf, the transformation of a frog, the strength of a bear, but most importantly, the grateful belief of a hummingbird.” He believes that as one humanity we should respect and stand up for the rights of rivers, lakes, oceans, and all of nature.

He acknowledges that technology has brought about a lot of good in the world, but it has also led to eco-depression, contamination of waterways, and the degradation of the earth. “Our world is pushed by what we want instead of what we need, and I think that’s why the ocean is full of shiny plastic. We have been marketed to the idea of ‘we need this and this and this and that.’ However, I really see a shift today towards a green economy where kids will come up with ideas to improve and enhance the future.” 

He was president of Nature’s Wild Neighbors Society which promotes environmental education in hopes of raising a generation of youth inherently aware of their impact on the environment and how their positive interaction with nature and wildlife can help preserve our natural wonders for generations to come. “We have a great generation coming up right now that is empathetic, intelligent, and understanding in ways different and better than ever before. I love it!”

Discovering Mediation

Jack believes that when we shift to a perspective of love “we understand that are human and all make mistakes and say the wrong thing.” He explains that if we accept that of each other we are able to work together and move forward in a more collaborative way. Due to the current global environmental situation, he also expressed that there will be a need for mediation, not only regarding personal disputes, but also over resources like water. “War and conflict are both simply a matter that someone has something that somebody else wants.” Environmental sustainability will continue to play a key role in fostering world peace in the years to come. Jack believes in global citizenship and with it, global stewardship. Jack has great hope for a more peaceful world in the future and more responsible stewardship of the earth by humanity.

Currently, Jack is working on a documentary called “Dreamers” and pursuing to grow his foundation. He continues to serve as a passionate Rotarian and is seeking to redefine its 21st-century presence, by creating environments for youth to meet and discuss environmental issues. He left off with a final provoking question “Are you a worrier or a warrior?”

Article by Kylea Shropshire, MBBI Writer