“One of the greatest gifts you can give is your time.”
This past week, I had the great honour of attending the Airdrie, Volunteer of the Year Awards. This is a night that our community comes together and acknowledges the hard working volunteers all around our city, and celebrate them and their contributions. Airdrie is known for being a community that is run on volunteers. From charity events to helping a family get back on their feet, the compassion that exudes out of the homes of these citizens is extraordinary. I always talk about how blessed I am to live in a place such as Airdrie, and thats because this city embodies what it means to be an Albertan. When the Fort McMurray fires devastated our province, Airdrie stepped up and was ready to provide housing, supplies and funds when needed. When approaching businesses to help sponsor a pancake breakfast I, and a fellow pageant sister Kali were organizing to raise money for the Red Cross, many local Airdrie businesses were out of supplies to donate due to the fact they had already donated it all to Fort McMurray. It is at times like the fires, that a community’s values shine through. Airdrie over and over again has stepped up and been a leader for communities all over Alberta, and it’s success and leadership is all thanks to the wonderful volunteers.
Last year, I was awarded the Leader of Tomorrow award for my volunteer work over the past 4 1/2 years. As a volunteer, you often don’t expect anyone to acknowledge this work. Volunteering is a selfless act that doesn’t require recognition. When my name was called as the winner, it was astonishing and a moment I will cherish forever. It is an unbelievable feeling to have your city stand behind you and the work you do. This year, a very deserving man named Ryland Kruk was given this special award. He started from shovelling driveways at a young age, to now being a member of the Airdrie Air Cadets and volunteering at the Hanger Flight Museum, selling poppies at the Legion, and helping out at the Airdrie Food Bank. Ryland has demonstrated the volunteer ethic that Airdrie thrives on. I am so incredibly happy for him and can’t wait to see what he accomplishes next!
Although this was a day filled with happiness and recognition to so many deserving people, it was also a day we lost a spearhead for volunteering in our city. Jim McPhee was an unbelievable community member. Before ending his battle with cancer, Jim along with his beautiful family accomplished so much in so many different ways, it would be impossible to list everything they’ve done. I admire the McPhee family and am honoured to continue my volunteering with Stephen’s Backpacks this summer. The legacy Jim left with us will always keep our community flourishing, and reminding us to always go beyond ourselves.
Just when I believe that this city can’t impress me anymore, it does. The power that can come about when several people stick their heads together and create change is so inspiring. I am so excited for my next volunteer adventure after such an incredible night!
Thank you to all those that continue to give and give to Airdrie. You are all so cherished in our city and your hard work does not go unnoticed. Lets continue to show Alberta, and Canada just how remarkable our city is!
Mackenzie, Miss Teenage Western Alberta 2017