On Nov. 20, Irricana volunteers Sidney Milton, Richard Luft and Kyle Graham, were awarded with volunteer of the year awards for their work in the community throughout 2014.
Mayor Valerie Squires, a speaker and presenter at the event, said volunteering is crucial in a small town like Irricana because very little would get done without them.
Despite the many nominations, Squires said she always sees the same few people manning lights or organizing events.
“You are the ones that make the simple things count,” Squires said in her speech. “And impact our community in a positive way.”
There are over 38 committees, boards and service groups and over 400 volunteers that support the Irricana community.
Youth Volunteer Award
Deputy Mayor Dennis Tracz presented the 2014 Youth Volunteer Award to 17-year-old Kyle Graham. He was the first volunteer of the night to receive his award.
Graham has been a member of Scouts Canada for almost nine years and says his favourite volunteer role is working concession at events like volunteer awards.
“In Scouts we’re always trying to get out there and make the community better,” he said
He was given the volunteer award for his attendance in roll in major fundraising and volunteer events. But more importantly, Tracz said, was how he encouraged others around him to contribute and volunteer.
“Kyle has matured and showed great dedication and responsibility in his rolls,” Tracz said.
Squires said Graham was a frontrunner for last year’s volunteer award so she’s happy to see he won this year.
“You hear people say that teenagers are nothing but trouble,” Councillor Laura Thiessen said. “But we have a huge group of teenagers in this town that do a lot of this community.”
Rural Volunteer Award
The second award Tracz presented was the 2014 Rural Volunteer award, which was given to long-time volunteer and farmer Richard Luft.
“Every organization is better for his knowledge of history, farming community, equipment, animals and people but its his smile and good natured humour that are two of his biggest contribution,” Tracz said.
Luft said has been volunteering his entire life. His long list of committees, boards and organizations notes the 25 years with Lions Club and 35 years with Calgary Stampede
No matter how bad of a day he was having, Luft said he could volunteer at the Calgary Stampede and come back being able to face his challenges.
“I was surrounded by all these happy, laughing people,” he said. “I came home and went to work the next day being able to face it.”
Luft said that though he appreciates the award, it’s not what motivates him to volunteer.
“It’s the right thing to do,” he said.
Urban Volunteer Award
Squires awarded the last award of the night, the 2014 Urban Volunteer Award, to Sidney Milton for his work in the community for the last nine years.
Milton has volunteered for events like Canada Day celebrations, winter fairs and fundraisers as well as the women’s health conference, where he was the only man, Squires added.
“You’ll always find him giving his time, wearing one of his many hats with a smile that lights up a room,” Squires said.
Milton said he is actually on the committee who chose him as a volunteer, but the committee hid the nomination and chose him without him knowing.
“Volunteering is the lifeblood of Irricana,” he said. “Without it, you have a dead town.”
Squires said she is especially happy Milton won the award this year as Irricana is loosing the valued volunteer to Wainright, Alta., and won’t have the opportunity again.