Despite the designer dresses and sharp suits for these annual award-show evenings, the people who collect Glassies and community awards aren’t millionaires who board private jets and fly from golf course to beach resort.
The people who were honoured with community awards in both Qualicum Beach and Parksville these past couple of weeks are your neighbours and friends. They might serve you french fries (bacon on everything, eh Mark Chandler?), or help you work them off (Beth Alden).
They are key community cogs like citizens of the year Wendy Maurer and Duane Round, people who make our towns, cities and organizations that much better. In fact, it’s people like Maurer and Round who keep these organizations alive, period.
Having government bow out of so many things these days is a double-edged sword. Victoria and Ottawa are constantly re-trenching with our money as the costs of the core things they are supposed to marshall, things like education and health care, soar.
There was a day when the provincial and/or federal governments would fund (again, with our money — sometimes we believe MLAs and MPs forget that, especially when they show up for a photo shoot with a cheque) many of the social programs and support now being performed by community groups and volunteers who have to work hard to get donations and find selfless people to do the work.
For example, what would this region do without the Society of Organized Services? Or Rotary Clubs? Or the many fantastic corporate citizens we have in Parksville Qualicum Beach who feel a real responsibility to give a large chunk of what they earn back to the community?
So, while one edge of the sword is the lack of our money flowing back to the communities, the other is the emergence of the fantastic community leaders, for which we are grateful.
A shout out is also in order for the organizers/presenters of these events, the Qualicum Beach Chamber of Commerce and the Parksville and District Chamber of Commerce. These groups could choose to do annual awards trumpeting business achievements alone. Instead, they work in awards like Citizen of the Year, Volunteer of the Year and Youth of the Year.
We tip our hat to these chamber organizations for also going the extra mile for their communities.
— Editorial by John Harding