Rimbey treasures its volunteers

A good crowd attended the volunteer dinner held at the Rimbey Community Centre. The dinner was held as part of National Volunteer Week to recognize local volunteers. Mayor Sheldon Ibbotson was the emcee for the evening that concluded with entertainment by The Amigos.

A good crowd attended the volunteer dinner held at the Rimbey Community Centre. The dinner was held as part of National Volunteer Week to recognize local volunteers. Mayor Sheldon Ibbotson was the emcee for the evening that concluded with entertainment by The Amigos.

TREENA MIELKE/Rimbey Review

Rimbey truly does have a treasure chest full of volunteers and more than 200 people crowded into the community centre April 11 to pay tribute to these dedicated individuals.

The evening was held as part of National Volunteer Week, April 10 to 16 and in Rimbey, this year’s theme was Treasures of the Community.

Volunteer Centre manager Lindell Ryan said volunteerism is strong in Rimbey with more than 100 active non-profit groups.

“Most rural communities tend to be that way. Everyone knows everyone and volunteers are always available to pitch in and keep the wheels turning.”

She said a busy lifestyle means people don’t have as much time to volunteer, but they still schedule time to help out whenever and wherever they can.

“It’s a way of thinking. Newer volunteers may not be able to volunteer for an entire project, but they will schedule time to help out as much as they can. They will pencil it into their BlackBerry. Even busy people find a way to volunteer.”

Mayor Sheldon Ibbotson, who was the emcee for the evening, gave special recognition to Mary Busch for her volunteer service.

Busch was nominated for the 11th Annual Stars of Alberta Volunteer Awards, presented by Alberta Culture and Community Spirit.

“This award is in recognition of outstanding community service and contributions in our community,” he said.

Ibbotson also recognized the volunteer week committee that includes Dan Donald, Mary Busch, Anita Goetz, Cheryl Jones, Barry Nesbitt, Monika Rondeel, Pat Makofka, Barb Olsen, Rick Kreklewich, Diane McCallum and Melissa Beebe. Other representatives on the committee are Irene Steeves, Laine Dahms, Lindell Ryan and Donna Keay.

He noted Rimbey businesses play a role in supporting the non-profit sector.

“When the need arises, volunteers such as those on the fire department need to leave their jobs at a moment’s notice. This is often at the expense of each volunteer’s employer. We must not forget to include all the businesses that make the non-profit sector possible.”

In his speech, Ibbotson included greetings from Ray Prins, MLA for Lacombe-Ponoka, Ty Lund, MLA for Rocky Mountain House, and Lynne Gray, manager of volunteer resources for the central zone of Alberta Health Services.

Ibbotson told the crowd that last year, volunteers nationwide gave 1.2 billion hours of time, energy and skills to the benefit of organizations, community services, sports teams, disaster relief and international aid.

The Rimbey mayor concluded his speech with a quote by Sir Winston Churchill: “You make a living by what you get and make a life by what you give.”

Following a meal prepared by members of the volunteer committee, the crowd was treated to some old fashioned, toe-tapping music by The Amigos.

Judy Mazurek, Janice Mackie, Marjie Feil, Maurice Paul, Irene Wegmann and June Smithson sang and played tunes of yesteryear that brought back fond memories for many in the audience.