COLUMNS: Keep the volunteer tradition alive

One of the things I love best about the Cariboo Chilcotin is the generosity of its people.

One of the things I love best about the Cariboo Chilcotin is the generosity of its people. I have seen it time and again — neighbours lending each other a hand, everyone working hard together for the success of community projects and functions.

This generosity, and the work ethic that supports it, has played a significant role in settling and growing our communities, and forms the core of our backcountry’s strong history of voluntarism. Today, this tradition is continued by the many members of our communities who give of their time to keep us and our families safe. Our volunteer firefighters, paramedics, RCMP, search and rescue workers and all first responders deserve our gratitude and respect for the heroism of their sacrifices on our behalf. Likewise, the doctors, nurses and health care workers we depend upon to take care of our medical needs expend significant time and effort responding to the demands of long shifts and 24/7 on-call duty.

But it isn’t just work from first responders and professionals like these upon which our communities were built, or that we still rely on. Many of our community organizations, programs and clubs were begun by volunteers, and continue to be run by community members who keep the tradition alive by generously volunteering their time and talents to support them.

Whether for our own sake or that of our children, grandchildren or our seniors, we all have much for which to thank the volunteers in our communities. There is perhaps no better way to show our appreciation for community volunteers than to walk a mile in their shoes, by joining their ranks. Even small time commitments can make a big difference for many volunteer-run organizations and those who benefit from them. As we start the New Year, I would like to extend my thanks to all of our volunteers, first responders and medical professionals — and to encourage each of you to consider becoming part of a living backcountry tradition by making time in 2017 to volunteer.

Contact MLA Barnett’s constituency office:

Phone: (250) 305-3800

Email: donna.barnett.mla@leg.bc.ca

Donna Barnett is the Liberal MLA for Cariboo-Chilcotin.