Campus News

The Lethbridge College community is mourning two recent losses: the passing of colleague and instructor Aaron Brooks and former college Métis elder Rod McLeod. 

The Lethbridge College flag was lowered Friday out of respect for Brooks and McLeod. The Blackfoot Confederacy flag was also lowered in consultation with the Indigenous Services team to recognize McLeod’s contributions to the Blackfoot community. The flags will remain lowered through April 17.

Brooks brought content to life through storytelling

Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks was an instructor for nearly a decade in the Primary Care Paramedic program, taught on our campus but run by NAIT. He passed away Thursday at the age of 42. 

He was also a dedicated firefighter paramedic and member of the Lethbridge Firefighters International Association of Fire Fighters 237. Known for his bravery, commitment and unwavering sense of duty, Brooks was highly respected by his colleagues, students and the community he served.

Although Brooks worked for NAIT, he was an integral part of our Centre for Health and Wellness Allied Health team. Those who worked with him said he was more than a colleague; he was a friend and mentor whose presence brought warmth and positivity to the campus. Brooks’s warm smile and captivating storytelling was his trademark, and he had a unique ability for connecting with students on a personal level, with a colleague stating, “Aaron didn’t just teach content – he brought it to life.”

His absence will be deeply felt by all those at the college and particularly the students he inspired. “He was an amazing instructor and I think about him almost every call I go out on,” says one of his former students.

As a firefighter paramedic, Brooks was always ready to put his life on the line to save others. Whether battling a blazing inferno or responding to a medical emergency, Brooks never hesitated to rush into danger to help those in need. His selfless actions have undoubtedly saved countless lives and made a lasting impact on the community. Beyond his role as a first responder, Brooks was also a devoted husband, father, son and friend.

A funeral service for Brooks will be held at 1 p.m. Wednesday, April 17 at Southminister United Church. A celebration of life will be held at the Lethbridge 20th Independent Field Battery Vimy Ridge Armoury at 6:30 p.m. Thursday. Details and a stream of the funeral service can be found with in his obituary.

Former Métis elder gifted Blackfoot name meaning 'Dependable One’

The college community is also saddened to learn of the death of Roderick John McLeod on March 30 at the age of 87. In addition to being a college graduate and distinguished alumni award recipient, McLeod served as the college’s Métis elder from 2012 to 2018, supporting, educating and encouraging countless students, employees, alumni and community members over the years.

Rod McLeod receives a Quilt of Valour from Glenn Miller

McLeod’s obituary notes that he connected with his Métis culture after moving to Lethbridge in 1998. He came to the college in 2002 at the age of 66 and enrolled in the Child and Youth Care program, graduating in 2003. He went on to work with Family Ties Association for 12 years. McLeod was a lifelong learner and earned a Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder credential from the college in 2006 at the age of 70. In 2011, at the age of 75, he was recognized as the oldest child and youth care worker in the city. A year later, he received the college’s Distinguished Alumni - Community Leader Award in recognition of his success in collaborative projects, his motivation, dedication, leadership and initiative, and his work for and with Alberta youth. And in October 2012, Blackfoot Elders Francis First Charger and Bruce Wolf Child gave McLeod the Blackfoot name of Iistakata, which means “Dependable One,” during a campus celebration.

“Giving a Blackfoot name to someone who is not a Blackfoot person is both an honour and a responsibility,” says Robin Little Bear, who was manager of Indigenous Services at that time. “It’s given to someone who has made an important contribution to the community, and to someone who is committed and responsible for carrying that name and continuing to support the community.”

McLeod attended Métis Sash Day in November 2023 at the college, where he shared his collection of Métis artifacts and patiently answered questions of another generation of students. In recognition of his service in the Canadian Armed Forces, McLeod also received a Quilt of Valour during the celebration, presented by Retired Warrant Officer and military historian Glenn Miller to recognize veterans in the community and show appreciation for their service.

A service for McLeod was already held.