As we celebrate National Volunteer Week April 16 to 22, I’m reminded of the wonderful and dedicated volunteers in this community that make the Sunshine Coast such a special place to live, work and recreate.
On Thursday, April 5, I had the pleasure of attending the inaugural Gibsons Rotary Club Rotary Recognition Awards Night at the Sunshine Coast Golf and Country Club. The club honoured four local businesses who contribute extensively, not just to Rotary, but also to our community and honoured five people with the Paul Harris Fellow Award, for their continuing volunteer efforts. The Paul Harris Fellow award is given by Rotarians to people they wish to honour for their volunteer work. The award is named after Paul Harris, one of four Chicago area businessmen who founded Rotary in 1905.
I was pleasantly surprised to see the award winners — many people that I deal with on both a professional and personal level — get some much deserved recognition.
We sometimes forget how important and vital the business community is to the volunteer organizations in this community. Whenever an arts or sports group needs a donation of some kind, businesses step up and offer their goods and services. Many of these business leaders also volunteer their time for organizations, sports and arts groups by coaching and helping out in other ways.
Last Saturday night, 19 other community volunteers were recognized during the Celebration of Excellence Awards Gala in Sechelt — another fine example of volunteer pride on the Sunshine Coast.
And where would this community be without those volunteers? Think about it for a moment. The Rotary and Lions Clubs, Arts Council, and hospital auxiliaries, the community associations, the volunteer fire departments, Coast Guards, Search and Rescue, Scouts and Guides, the music and arts festivals like the Jazz Fest in Gibsons and Pender, the Festival of the Written Arts and Sea Cavalcade, Canada Day celebrations and Earth Day, community groups like Habitat for Humanity, and all our sports organizations from soccer and hockey, to baseball, figure skating, lacrosse, softball and horse back riding — all happen because of the power of volunteers.
Without them, what kind of community would this be — probably a pretty boring one right? And a community that would be devoid of many community groups that help put on events and activities that so enrich all of our lives.
So the next time you are out and about and are attending an event, be sure to thank the volunteer at the door who offers you that warm smile as they take your ticket. They will appreciate the thanks I’m sure.