This past September at the UBCM conference in Vancouver I had opportunity to speak with Audrey Repin, Director, Stakeholder and External Relations, Columbia Power Corporation and during the conversation she mentioned that there was grant money for communities.

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I immediately asked if hosting a volunteer luncheon would qualify and she replied yes, it would.

On arriving home I spoke with chief administrative officer Jim Hendricks about my idea and he consented to writing the grant request as it was made clear that this had to be done by staff not an elected official. Three weeks and a few emails later we got confirmation that our funding request had been granted.

As organization of events is something I like to do I immediately formulated a plan and put it into action. Venue, program, and most of all the food were put in place and we were set to go. Invitations came next. Emma Dressler, Library Director, offered to assist so they produced lovely invitations that were sent out by myself and City staff with the Library staff compiling the responses.

For several years I had been contemplating organizing such an event as Fernie and area has a huge number of people that accomplish an incredible amount of work that is unpaid but yet very valuable to many groups and organizations. These people don’t do it for a “free lunch” as one person stated. They do it just because it needs to be done and to help others. Many times these people never expect thanks and certainly they don’t do it to receive accolades however I am a firm believer that there is no reason why amazing people shouldn’t be thanked publicly at some point. So, welcome to our first volunteer appreciation lunch. And this is what I said to those that attended, nearly two hundred of them.

On behalf of the City of Fernie I want to extend sincere thanks to every volunteer that we have in our community.
You, our volunteers are critical to the success of any organization or group.

Look around this community at what we enjoy and it is evident that it is due to the many people that took the initiative of tasks, responsibility and projects that made many of those amenities happen.

I’m not sure that there are words adequate to describe a volunteer, except to say that volunteers are love in motion.

Volunteers are the heart of any community and so on behalf of City Council and the City of Fernie thank you for all you do. We want you to know that you are appreciated not only today but all year through.

I want to say Thank you to Audrey Repin from Columbia Power who came to attend this event and who has sponsored our lunch. Thank you to Jim Hendricks and the City of Fernie. Thank you to Heather Smith,( assistant to Minister Bill Bennett, who wanted to attend this event but who was in Victoria), for her kind words on behalf of Minister Bennett.

To our volunteer of the year, Kevin McIsaac for his wonderful speech on behalf of volunteers, to Pastor Dennis Williamson for saying grace, thank you to the High School Band kids and their teacher Barbara Bassett, Allison Pace and Academy kids, and Rosanna and Holy Family choir members for the gift of music today.

Thank you to Alice Booth and the ladies of the senior’s center for preparing the food, and thank you to Emma Dressler and the Library staff for assisting with this event.

And a special thank you to Councillor Dan McSkimming for being our emcee.

But most of all Thanks go to all of our wonderful volunteers, those that attended and those that couldn’t be with us to share in the day.

This world runs on the love generated by those that work so tirelessly to help their community and the people that call it home and that do it without wanting or looking for a pat on the back. You are what make this community special.

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