Celebrating the heroes in our midst

Volunteers play a major role in the lives of many who rely upon them

They’re not the type of people who stand out in crowds. They don’t wear capes and have no need of a phone booth to make a quick change. But the efforts of Oak Bay volunteers are nothing short of heroic.

The tireless efforts and devotion to community of the 200 or so people who make up Oak Bay Volunteer Services were recognized last week at a luncheon in municipal hall.

“Each and every one of them means so much to our community,” said Oak Bay Mayor Nils Jensen. “They’re the connectivity to a lot of people who either can’t get out of the house or don’t have anyone to turn to in certain situations.”

Volunteers can provide services such as preparing tax returns, driving clients for errands or medical appointments, making minor repairs around the house or just stopping by for a visit.

The tasks may seem fairly routine and not a significant contribution to the community. But to the residents who benefit from these services and their families, those simple tasks can be the highlight of their day, and the people who perform them their heroes.

The definition of hero is someone admired for great deeds and noble qualities. They need not risk life and limb, simply give of themselves for the betterment of others. And giving is something that seems to come natural to the volunteers in Oak Bay.

And in a room full of people deserving recognition, a special honour was set aside for one in their midst. Joan Halvorson was honoured for her 35 years of service as executive director of Oak Bay Volunteer Services. Halvorson was described as the shepherd who guides her flock of volunteers, seemingly always able to find the right fit for every client’s need.

But rather than continue to extol her virtues, what Halvorson would likely want most is for others to share in her love for volunteering. To find out more about becoming a volunteer, contact Oak Bay Volunteer Services at 250-595-1034 or drop by their offices in the Oak Bay municipal hall.