Exceptional volunteers honoured July 1st

Saanich-Gulf Islands MP Elizabeth May will recognize at least 74 islanders with a special achievement in volunteer hours as part of events at the Canada Day Show and Shine on July 1.

Volunteer and Community Resources’ 150 Volunteer Challenge asked volunteers to commit to at least 150 hours of their time in just a few short months. The challenge began on Feb. 1, exactly 150 days before Canada Day. 

When broken down, reaching 150 hours would require a minimum of five hours per week over the five-month period. This seemed like a significant challenge when the campaign was conceptualized, the coordinators explain.

“What proved to be a fascinating learning with the campaign is that, not only do many of our island volunteers give well beyond five hours of volunteer hours per week, but a lot of them are giving to more than one organization,” said Janine Fernandes-Hayden, Volunteer and Community Resources administrator.

For example, Kerry Lee, a volunteer with the Girl Guides, the Salt Spring Abattoir Society, Island Comfort Quilts and the Salt Spring Farmers’ Institute, already had her 150 hours as of Feb. 23.

In an email she wrote at the time, Lee said, “With four months still to go, I’m really surprised at how these hours add up.”

The Lady Minto Hospital Auxiliary was the organization with the greatest number of volunteers registered in the challenge with 19, while Dorothy Kyle volunteered the most  time of those people at 650 hours.

Loretta Rithaler earned 770 hours divided between 4H, Gulf Islands Early Learning Centre, the Salt Spring Aquatic Society and the Salt Spring wrestling team.  

The youngest challenger was 13-year-old William Rithaler, who reached 356 hours volunteering with the 4H club, Gulf Islands Early Learning Centre, Salt Spring Stingrays, Our Lady of Grace church and with the student council at Queen of Angels School, not to mention being a “big buddy on the ferry and bus” to his fellow schoolmates.

“Volunteer and Community Resources recognizes its partners Driftwood Gulf Islands Media, Country Grocer and the Salt Spring Antique and Classic Motor Club,” Fernandes-Hayden said. “Additionally, thanks is extended to the businesses and organizations donating to the prize packages.”

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