Each year, communities across Canada celebrate National Volunteer Week. National Volunteer Week 2019 takes place from April 7 to April 13. The primary purpose of this specially designated week is to thank and honour people who donate their time to help others by supporting the causes in which they believe.
Volunteer Week also serves to reinforce the human values that volunteering represents and increase awareness of the vital importance of volunteerism to our communities. Each year a call is put out to organizations in the County for nominations of residents who have contributed through volunteering their time in making our communities better places to live.
Wendy Bourque — Town of Westville
Wendy has been a part of the Westville Rotary Club for many years – with her at the helm, the club successfully raised funds to install a community splash pad in 2017. Wendy worked tirelessly on this project and with her hard work and dedication, the splash pad is currently being enjoyed by children big and small from all over Pictou County. Wendy was on the initial planning committee for the creation of Acadia Park, now a central gathering spot in the Town of Westville. Aside from her involvement in the Rotary club, Wendy has coached ringette, is a member of the Westville Homecoming Committee and has organized fundraising efforts for the Pictou County Fuel Fund and the SPCA. The Town of Westville is honored to nominate Wendy for a Provincial Volunteer Award and we thank her for all she does for her community.
Ken MacDonald — Town of Trenton
The annual Florence Gouthro Memorial Award is presented each year to a volunteer who exemplifies the true spirit of volunteerism. The Town is pleased to announce that Ken MacDonald has been chosen as the 2019 Volunteer of the Year!
Trenton FunFest is pleased to recognize the efforts of Ken MacDonald. Last year when the committee of the Trenton FunFest retired, Ken was one of a handful of new volunteers who stepped in taking on managing multiple events and behind the scenes planning ensuring the festival not only just carried on but did so successfully!
Ken has volunteered his time with many sports teams over the years including basketball, hockey, and softball. From coaching, assisting, and sitting on committees, he has helped multiple teams/groups from the elementary to the high school level. He has been a dedicated coach, developing the love of sports in many children in our community.
Ken is a devoted, yet humble volunteer who gives his all to every group/team that he has helped. He will be the first to acknowledge and thank other volunteers while downplaying the importance of his own role. Not one to toot his own horn, he will tell you: “I’m just a worker bee.”
Well this worker bee has continuously put his all into everything thrown at him and has done a fantastic job. Thank you, Ken, for all your hard-work in our community over the years! Trenton is lucky and thankful to have someone as great as you named Volunteer of the Year!
Betty Richards — Town of Pictou
The Town of Pictou is very proud to have Betty Richards as our 2019 Volunteer of the Year.
Betty is a wonderful volunteer who has been volunteering with the Shiretown Nursing Home for more than 31 years. She is a faithful and loyal volunteer who goes to the home approximately 30 hours a week. She will also volunteer on other days for special events such as resident outings. Betty assists the Therapeutic Recreation Department with resident focused programs such as bingo, parties and helps the hairdresser, and every other department in some way or another. Individuals like Betty make this world a better place.
Quietly going about her business, getting up in the morning and walking across town to spend the day helping others, the Town of Pictou is very proud to have Betty as our 2019 Volunteer of the Year.
Jim Crawford — The municipality of Pictou County
Crawford, 69, represented the Municipality of Pictou County during the provincial reception and will also be a guest at its own volunteer banquet on April 6 at the Plymouth Fire Hall.
Crawford started volunteering with LORDA in the evening and weekends 30 years ago. He is an outdoors person at heart and was looking for a way to give back to this community while still enjoying the fresh air.
He heard about LORDA’s need for volunteers through a friend and started helping clearing brush and doing maintenance around the park when needed. When he retired from the Nova Scotia Department of Transportation and Infrastructure in 2015, he spent more time at the park and became its curator in 2017.
“I heard about it and started going out on evenings and weekends. When I retired four years ago, I spent most of my time out there.”
When former park curator David Leese retired two years ago, Crawford took over the role.
“I help out with the summer students and make birdhouses and maple syrup that can be sold as fundraisers,” he said. “I like to be outdoors.”
In addition to volunteering with LORDA, Crawford was also a volunteer with St. John Ambulance.
During the spring and summer months, Crawford spends six days a week, usually nine hours a day, at the park. He also oversees the production of maple syrup from trees tapped on site and sold as a fundraiser.
“Our maple syrup is going all over the world,” he said.
Crawford said he believes the park is a unique experience for visitors because it offers people over the age of 55 or anyone with disabilities of any kind at any age, to fish for free from its stocked ponds. It also has about 20 dry camping sites that allow people to experience nature to its fullest in a safe and accessible environment.
“I like to volunteer and get out there and help,” he said.
Greg Burrows — Town of New Glasgow
For the past 20 years, Greg has been a local business person supporting recreation, community development and sports teams for young athletes. He has provided coaching for hockey, baseball, swimming and track teams and was the founder and key organizer for the ‘Ride the River’ event that drew hundreds of people to New Glasgow. He has served as President of the West Side Community Centre, was fundraising chair for the construction of a concrete ice surface and helped develop a “Smart Cities Application” for the town.
Tara Carruthers — Town of Stellarton
An advocate of sport, Dr. Tara Carruthers has been coaching elementary school basketball in Stellarton for the past 10 years, promoting respect, inclusion, team building, fair play and enjoyment of the game. She has coached with the GR Saunders Elementary School Boys Basketball Team and was involved with the Pictou County Lightning Basketball Association, the Steve Nash Youth Basketball Program, and was co-ordinator for the Pictou County Elementary Boys Basketball League. Tara is also a volunteer with the Heatherbells Pipes and Drums Youth band. Her efforts include snare drum lessons, chaperoning performances and working in their Snack Shack during the summer. The Town of Stellarton is proud to have Dr. Tara Carruthers as its Volunteer of the Year.