Meet the Mayor
October 17, 2013
Communities thrive on volunteerism. Don’t take me wrong. Chetwynd thrives but I’m not saying that Chetwynd has more volunteers than we need. There is always room for more. At the risk of missing a few areas where volunteers are appreciated, I will list a few with which I am familiar.
Take Surerus Place as an example. I know, the workers there are paid and they do a great job in the day-to-day cleaning and cooking and maintenance. But what goes on behind the scenes? Behind the workers are the volunteers who oversee the operation, write proposals, plan for meeting the needs of the next wave of tenants, and raise money for upkeep and expansion. Behind the scenes there is a lot going on that we don’t see when we bring Her Honour the Lieutenant Governor for a visit.
Down the street a few minute’s walk is the Seniors’ Hall, another essential community facility that is operated entirely by volunteers. When light bulbs need replacing, a washroom renovated, or the hall set up for a program the volunteers come out to do the jobs.
And then there are the moms and dads and uncles and aunts who devout hours of time to give someone’s child an opportunity to swim, play soccer, baseball, hockey, learn to read, attend church. It’s all part of being community. It’s part of who we are, a community that cares enough about its people to give a part of its life to someone else. Yes, time is life.
Are there special volunteers? Well, maybe not, because every volunteer job is important to the life of the community. But right now I’m thinking of the firefighters who commit 250 – 300 hours each year to training to do a job for which they get no pay. And it’s a dangerous job at which lives can be risked to save the life or property of someone else.
Your 30 volunteers average 80 call outs per year that come at the most inopportune times: just when the young lad is about to score his first goal; in the middle of that long-anticipated date; just as he is taking the Christmas turkey out of the oven – and at other times that you who are connected to a firefighter could name.
On an ordinary year the firefighters can be called out 5 – 7 times to a highway rescue and just as many times to serious fires. (Incidentally, the auto extrication course is three full days away from home and family.) And there are fun times when we parade around town and marvel at the light plays of fireworks. All of this is volunteer time for the firefighters.
November 2 is a big date this year for the firefighters. It’s the fiftieth anniversary of the Firefighters’ Ball and high time to honour the volunteerism of this dedicated group and their families who also are placed under enormous stress every time the beeper summons one of their members.
Merlin Nichols, Mayor