Close to 50 people turned out in the pouring rain Tuesday night at Qualicum Beach Memorial Golf Club in support of eight locals up for Sport Heroes awards, and in keeping with the theme, the water works continued inside where emotions ran high.
Emceeing the evening was Carey Summerfelt, manager of recognition and stewardship for viaSport, which works with Sport BC.
Saturday was the seventh of eight such awards ceremonies held throughout the province each year. Started in 2001, Sport Heroes “celebrates the contributions of long-time community sport volunteers.”
Oceanside mayors Teunis Westbroek and Chris Burger took turns thanking the sport heroes for their contributions — both spoke of the importance sports plays in the fabric of a community.
Oceanside Track & Field coach and former Parksville mayor Randy Longmuir was first to be recognized, followed by Sean Hines — the longtime dedicated Ballenas Whalers’ football coach set the tone as he choked back tears and had to pause more than once to collect himself.
Harold Baker was next, and he too was misty eyed.
In the end, all eight recipients seemed humbled by the attention.
“The turnout was great especially considering all the rain, so that’s fantastic,” said a pleased Irene Schell, the vice chair of Sport BC. “I mean the work that they’ve done… wow.”
“I’ve been to a few of these (events) and I’ve seen people cry, but I haven’t seen so many people teary; it was very emotional,” she said when asked if Tuesday night was typical, adding “I was saying to Carry afterwards not to be emotional when the football players are up there being emotional themselves, so it was great. Obviously it really touched the volunteers, and what I heard from all the volunteers was they were acknowledging all their volunteers that helped them, that it wasn’t just them getting it it was on behalf of all of them so that was wonderful to hear,” she said, and made the point “it’s clear that it’s a tight-knit sports community.”
She pointed out sports make up the largest part of the voluntary sector in Canada with some 5.3 million volunteers representing over 34,000 associations.
The emcee of the evening it turns out is a KSS grad. Summerfelt moved to QB with her family when she was six in 1983.
THE RECIPIENTS: Randy Longmuir (athletics), Sean Hines (football), Harold Barker (multi-sport), Lyle Lamont (baseball), Irene Creally (curling), Robynne Shaw (figure skating), Gavin Reid (lawn bowling), Kim Longmuir (athletics).