Volunteers to be applauded this week

Volunteer Appreciation Night is Thursday at the cultural centre. We'll have the story later today, but here is the video on the event and volunteering.

Posted by MorinvilleNews.com on Monday, 6 April 2015

by Stephen Dafoe

Local volunteers will be collectively applauded Thursday night during the Annual Volunteer Appreciation Night. The Town, community groups, and volunteers will gather to express appreciation for all volunteers while awarding a number of vulunteers for their outstanding efforts. The event takes place Apr. 9 at 6 p.m. at the cultural centre.
This year’s theme is Volunteers are part of the ripple effect.

“It’s that imagery of a pebble in the pond and that one person’s good acts and good wishes and good deeds radiating throughout the community,” said Morinville’s Community Development Coordinator Allen Jacobson. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to acknowledge, recognize and celebrate the volunteers that make this town, as in many towns and municipalities across Canada, a great place to live, work and play. Volunteerism is critical to all municipalities.”

In his two years working in Morinville, Jacobson has seen the ripple effect first hand. “I’ve seen that people do things without any expectation of return. I’ve seen that. People take the time to go out of their way to assist. They just want to do good — not for their personal gain but the benefit of the community.”

Jacobson went on to say he has seen a number of new people assisting longtime volunteers. “I’ve also seen people who have found an initiative or discovered something that they want to present here in the town and [they] go for it and do it,” he said. “It’s wonderful. I’ve noticed that a lot.”

One longtime volunteer who took the time to nominate a worthy volunteer for one of the seven awards on offer this year is Murray Knight.

Knight’s introduction to volunteerism began when he was a Pee Wee hockey player. He recalled that his coach, a man he believed to have Cerebral Palsy, would put aside his canes and crawl on the ice on his knees teaching Knight and his fellow young hockey players the game.

“As you go through life, you think back on the starts and the things that stay impressionable in your life,” Knight said. “Mr. Woods, God Rest his soul, was a great man. A great man to a bunch of kids.”

Many years later, it is a love of his community that keeps Knight volunteering to make it a better place. “Every place I left was hard to leave to go on to the next place,” he said. “You make a place what it is. You give to the community because there will be somebody behind you giving back.”

He views his work as rewarding but realizes if he stopped his volunteerism tomorrow, no one would go hungry. “Talk to the people that run the food bank. Talk to the people at Victim Services,” he said. “I take my hat off. That’s pretty strong and pretty potent for me.”

Regardless of the type of volunteering, Knight believes people do what they do out of great love for their community.

That great love will result in volunteer awards in the categories of Youth Volunteer, Volunteer Family, Unsung Hero and Volunteer of the Year Award. The Four awards sponsored by the Town of Morinville will join the Morinville News’ Paul Krauskopf Community Spirit Award, the Rendez-Vous Centre’s Heritage Award, and the Morinville Lions Club’s Citizen of the Year Award.

Doors open Apr. 9 at 6 p.m. for beverages and a buffet. Entertainment will start at 7 p.m. with the Morinville Minstrels and Dance Connections students providing entertainment intermezzos between the awards.

Variety of awards up for grabs

Each of the four awards sponsored by the Town of Morinville and the three sponsored by businesses and organizations recognize and reward a different type of volunteer.

Volunteer of the Year recognizes an active volunteer who has demonstrated generosity of spirit, leadership and enthusiasm in one or more community projects during 2014.

The Volunteer Family Award recognises the Morinville family that actively passes the volunteerism spirit on to the next generation.

Youth Volunteer of the Year is awarded to a Morinville resident under the age of 18 who has demonstrated generosity of spirit, leadership and enthusiasm in 2014.

The Coach or Mentor of the Year recognizes outstanding qualities of inspiration, commitment, attitude and leadership in the community.

A relatively recent award is the Unsung Hero Award, which recognizes a resident, club or business who demonstrates a true commitment to making a difference in the community.

Once again this year the Lions Club are sponsoring the Citizen of the Year Award, the Rendez-Vous are presenting the Heritage Award, and The Morinville News are presenting the Paul Krauskopf Community Spirit Award.

The Morinville Lions Club Citizen of the Year Award is presented annually to an individual or family that has made a significant contribution to the community.

The Morinville Seniors’ Rendez-Vous Club’s Heritage Award is presented to a nominee who has a track record of long-standing service with any Morinville volunteer organization. Nominees must not have been recognized in any fashion previously, and posthumous nominations are not accepted.

The Morinville News’ Paul Krauskopf Community Spirit Award recognizes an individual who unites the community together through their participation, involvement and promotion of the community. The award seeks to recognize the member of the community who may otherwise escape the recognition they deserve.

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