If it really does take extraordinary effort to produce extraordinary results, then the volunteers who put together Sunday’s Family Day celebration in Qualicum Beach worked hard indeed.
Walter Hoogland, who has been the organizer for Family Day for several years now, said he was delighted and inspired by both the work that went into the project and the tremendous response that saw thousands of area residents stream into Community Park.
“It was unbelievable,” he said. “It’s the most people we’ve ever seen, that’s for sure, both in the parade and the field activities. It was superb.”
The day was blessed with fine weather, but Hoogland, who has had to step back a bit this year because of surgery, said the key to Sunday’s success had a lot to do with the efforts of those who put it on.
“We had some great support,” he said. “Marilyn Simms was the backbone, the heart and soul,” he said. “She’s an incredible, inspired person. The hours she spent putting this together … I watched it myself and it’s just immense.”
Perhaps equally gratifying, he said, is the fact that much of the work this year was done by a younger contingent of volunteers, who stepped in to fill any gaps.
“Rob Ferguson helped out a lot on the parade, and he’s a young parent himself,” Hoogland said. “His kids aren’t even in school yet. These young guys are coming forward, helping the grandparents bring it together.”
What Hoogland found particularly inspiring however, were the smiling faces and the laughter of the hundreds of children who took part.
“We saw hula hoops with young and old, we saw grandparents dancing with kids. It took a lot of hard work, but it played into what families really want for their kids and they got it. I just had surgery but the only thing that hurt was my jaw, because I just could not stop smiling. It was just so tremendously inspiring. It made my day.”