Island Health volunteers Dell Finerty and Don Clarke began a close relationship after meeting three years ago at Trillium Lodge in Parksville.

Volunteer Valentines in Parksville

Both Dell and Don had been lonely at times following the deaths of their spouses

  • Feb. 12, 2015 6:00 p.m.

More than 6,000 volunteers at Island Health find many rewards for the more than half million hours they provide of valued service each year. For some, romance turns out to be an added benefit.

“I definitely recommend volunteering. You meet the nicest people,” said Dell Finerty, who has been volunteering at Trillium Lodge for the past three years.

Dell is particularly glad that she met Don Clarke, a retired auto mechanic, who has been volunteering at Oceanside-area care facilities for more than 20 years, playing a range of old favourites on the piano for residents, visitors and staff.

Dell’s volunteer efforts have involved accompanying residents on outings to hair salons, local shops and neighbourhood walks. Her working life outside the home included several years at the Woodward’s department store in Victoria and sewing draperies.

Soon after she began as a volunteer, Dell attended an appreciation tea at the lodge. Her daughter, Janie Finerty, is Manager of Volunteer Resources for Oceanside and Port Alberni and recalls Don approaching her at the event to ask for a favour.

“He came up to me after the party and asked for a pen.  I said I would go find him one and he laughed and said he wanted to get that cute little lady’s phone number. When I looked to where he was pointing, it was my mom,” Janie said.

Don and Dell hit it off and now go on frequent dinner dates and other outings. In 2013, they travelled to the Maritimes to visit relatives. It was also a part of the country where Don has his musical roots.

“I used to play the accordion in a band and every Saturday night we’d play at the Malagash Salt Miners Hall in Nova Scotia,” Don recalled. “They paid us eight dollars.”

Both Dell and Don had been lonely at times following the deaths of their spouses and said volunteering is a great way to socialize.

“When you’re home all the time, you don’t get to meet people,” Don said.

Volunteering is also an excellent way to stay active. When asked about Valentine’s Day, Dell said they will get around to making plans soon. “We’ve been too busy,” she said with a smile.

— Submitted by Island Health

Just Posted

2019 Federal election: Courtenay-Alberni candidates address seniors issues

“What are your party’s plans to ease the stress realized by seniors on fixed incomes?”

WATCH: Jordan now a key member on staff at Parksville business

Disability Awareness Month celebrated around province

RDN wants to play role in Ballenas track upgrade

Bringing dilapidated facility up to standard could cost close to $1M

Qualicum Beach joins in on global climate strike

Participants urge government to adequately address climate crisis

Coombs athlete, 91, brings home five gold medals from 55+ BC Games

Buschhaus now has 217 career senior games medals

VIDEO: A moment to remember during the World Lacrosse Men’s Indoor Championship in B.C.

Diego Hernandez Valenzuela’s team lost, but he felt like a winner Saturday

PHOTOS: Steller sea lion with plastic around neck rescued on Vancouver Island

Rescue staff determined the plastic band cut the protected animal’s neck approximately two inches

B.C. VIEWS: School officials join fact-free ‘climate strike’

Students, public get distorted picture of greenhouse gases

Handgun crackdown, health spending and transit plans latest campaign promises

Friday was the end of a busy week on the campaign trail

B.C. woman photographs massive ant swarm on Abbotsford driveway

She asked what the ants were doing? The answer: war

Iconic 90s TV show ‘Friends’ celebrates 25th anniversary

The iconic, decade-long television show aired its first episode 25 years ago today

Police arrest B.C. phone scammer linked to illegal call centres in India

Person arrested in Burnaby here on a work visa, says police

Air Canada forced girl, 12, to remove hijab: civil rights group

The San Francisco Bay Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations calling for change

Most Read