Park Place Lodge

The Senior‘s Center was filled to capacity on Friday, February 16, the occasion being the Volunteer Lunch organized by the City of Fernie to recognize the many individuals that do so much for the community.

I have often said that volunteers are the heart of our community and I always believed that we needed to show appreciation to all the people that do so much without wanting any recognition.
I often thought it would be great to do this at a lunch however the funding required to hold such a large event was never available. Until four years ago when I was told that there were grants that could be applied to for such an occasion.

An application was sent to Columbia Power thanks to Audrey Repin who attended the first volunteer lunch that has now become a very welcome annual event that I love to organize on behalf of the City.

This year applications to the Columbia Basin Trust and Save on Foods were successful allowing the event to take place again.

Lunch began at 11:30 am and continued until two. Councillor Dan McSkimming was Emcee and Councillor Joe Warshawsky greeted everyone and made sure they placed their names in the basket for the door prize draws.

This isn’t a formal event but I do like to have a bit of a program so after introducing councillors McSkimming, Warshawsky and Schaffer I welcomed everyone and thanked them for coming. It was wonderful to have the room full including some City staff and CAO Norm McInnis. MLA Tom Shypitka would have attended however the legislature was in session so he sent a warm message that was read by the emcee.

This lunch is only a gesture to show gratitude for the many hours individuals put into volunteer work in this community. It’s truly only a token to express appreciation to the many remarkable persons that do so much for organizations, churches, clubs, schools, truly, volunteers are everywhere, including many that do for others quietly and privately. This is just a small acknowledgement of what everyone does in this community and it is also just a time to spend socializing with other wonderful people.

There are always individuals who need to be thanked for assisting and so thanks go Sara Stewart and Suzanne Garand from the City for all their help with application and invitations. To Joe Warshawsky for helping and Dan McSkimming for being emcee year after year, to Pastor Dennis Williamson for saying a lovely blessing on all volunteers, to Kevin McIsaac for giving a wonderful speech on what it means to be a volunteer, to MLA Tom Shypitka, thank you to the Columbia Basin Trust, Save On Foods and City of Fernie, and most of all a huge thank you to Alice and Jim Booth and all the people at the Senior’s Center, we couldn’t do it without them, they set up and take down, order and prepare the food and serve it. That group is the epitome of what it means to be a volunteer.

Last December I was speaking with Tammy Monsell telling her I was looking for a door prize for the event. A week later she handed me four tickets to the Vancouver Canucks/San Jose Sharks game valued at over a thousand dollars. This was won by Celia Roccamatisi. Other prizes were from Judith Johannsson of Ghostrider Trading Company, Eric Johnston from Credit Union, Fernie Chamber, Tourism Fernie, City of Fernie, BC Hydro, and the Independent Store.

I really can’t say enough on how important volunteers are in this community. One only has to look at the work that was accomplished in a few weeks to build the outdoor ice rink to see how giving, how kind, how generous and how marvellous the people in this community are. Looking for funding and planning this event is truly a real pleasure for me as mayor. It provides me with the opportunity to convey in a small way how much the City of Fernie appreciates and values the people who call this town home and who contribute so greatly to making it a wonderful place to live. Thank you everyone.

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