Dianna Atkinson often turned to the words of Nelson Mandela when she was growing up in Thunder Bay.
"I have been through some tough times," said the president of the Caribbean African Multicultural Association.
His poems and story were an inspiration to Atkinson and she wanted to give something back to the former South African president who died Dec. 5 at the age of 95.
On Thursday, the CAMA and Jenkens Funeral Home held a service for Mandela at St. Paul's Anglican Church.
"I really want people to understand Nelson Mandela was one of those inspiration types of people where his smile was contagious. It was a courageous thing he's done through his life," said Atkinson.
"The City of Thunder Bay can just take back a little bit and read some of his poems, some of the quotes and you'll see, you'll feel it. You'll feel it still today."
The service included a reading of Mandela's biography and some quotes from the man who helped end apartheid in South Africa as well as live music.
Jenkens' managing director Brent Trudell said they reached out to the CAMA about arranging the service so they could give back to the community and to honour a man who was important to the world.
"How he brought peace to where nobody knew peace before, how we looked after solving issues like poverty," said Trudell.
During Mandela's funeral in South Africa earlier this week, U.S. President Barack Obama shook the hand of Cuban President Raul Castro. Trudell said it's only the second time in history a U.S. Leader has shook the hand of the Cuban leader.
"He's brought everyone together and that's what we want," said Trudell.
There's a book of condolences people can sign at Jenkens Funeral Home. It will be there until Monday at 5 p.m. and then it will be sent to the Mandela family.
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