Photo: Kai Kiilaspea (2015)
Reede, 12 November 2021 19:00
Estonian Life No. 45 2021 - Laas Leivat
A young Estonian actor is auditioning for a part in a play at one of the Mirvish theaters. Director: What’s your name? Actor: Armin Armpit. Director: No, no. We’re are a prestigious group and that name makes us a laughing stock. Actor: I’m Estonian. Director: Well and good but you can use a stage name. Actor: But this is my stage name.
How’s this connected to Thomas Heinsoo? That’s his stage name. His real name is Shuns Praise. Yes, he’s uncomfortable with adulation or flattery. So I’ll keep it low key.
As most know Canadian law does not allow honorary consuls who have been duly appointed by a foreign country, and recognized and ‘licensed’ by the Canadian government to receive any remuneration from the home country. Similarly with any associated costs.
Without Tom’s support the existence of the consulate at Etonian House would not have been possible. With this, I do not trivialize the support kindly received from Estonian organizations. It’s also been invaluable.
But Tom, for the past 20 has been the constant, dependable resource that helps maintain a presentable facility, one which the consulate is proud to use.
The motivation? I’m convinced it’s partially the legacy of Ilmar, his father’s past. After fighting in Finland, Ilmar returned to Estonia in 1944, as the Red Army was making substantial headway in conquering the Estonia. He fought them, was wounded and escaped to Sweden. He then agreed to be parachuted back to Estonia by the British – an operation that was abandoned due to a security breach.
Why all this about Ilmar? Because it speaks about the righteous fight, about commitment, principles and a sense of mission, something I’m convinced gives Tom direction in his decisions. Something not well known in the community is Tom’s largesse in constantly supporting most events, gatherings and organizations.
I’m sure to upset Tom if I continue in this vein. I once complained to Tom about the unresponsive audience to my stupid jokes the other day. Tom said, “But Mrs. L….o laughed hilariously at all of them.” “Why?” Tom: “She was showing off her new teeth.” Brutally true. But also tolerant. He can quietly sit and suffer my rants, concerns, complaints, ideas, protests and take them in stride. Genuine forbearance. I‘m laying it on a bit too thick, knowing he’ll be embarrassed.
But why this unusual column? Tom passed his 60th milestone in August. Only a couple of associates helped him mark the occasion with a brief lunch, which probably suited him for someone who eschews the limelight.
He’s Estonia’s Hon. Vice-Consul. I’m blessed that he’s got the energy of a young hockey player, which he still continues to play. And he has the caring of a solid family man to Kristiina and his super-spirited boys, Mik and Jakob.
Tom cannot avoid growing older, but he can avoid get old. And he does it with a vigorous pursuit.Laas Leivat