It was a night full of cheers and some tears as Sylvan Lake celebrated the hardworking volunteers who toil behind the scenes.
The Volunteer Gala on April 13 capped off a week-long salute to the volunteers, who keep so many aspects of Sylvan Lake running. National Volunteer Week ran from April 7-13.
From the awards to the first class meal provided by Bob Ronnie Catering and top-tapping music interspersed throughout the night, no one left the gala unhappy.
Amy Boutin, volunteer centre coordinator, took the time to thank volunteers who put the event together, took time to judge all the nominations and all those who take time out of their busy schedules to volunteer around town.
“Your generous efforts are a true reflection of what it means to live in the Town of Sylvan Lake,” Boutin said.
Five awards were handed out to deserving individuals, and one group, who consistently lend a hand at events, organizations, and anywhere help is needed.
Cinzia Cappella, a volunteer and one of the award recipients, said volunteering rarely ever feels like a job to her.
“I give my time because I believe in Sylvan Lake, I believe in the people in Sylvan Lake, and I honestly feel so good after every time I’m around them,” she said.
The winners from the Volunteer Gala were:
- Cinzia Cappella – Community Mentorship Award
- Bunny Virtue – Community Champion Award
- Sylvan Lake Beaver, Cub and Scout Leaders – Healthy Communities Initiative Cup
- Jane Walsh – Town Council’s Award – Volunteer of the Year
- Pat Garritty – Mayor’s Award – Distinguished Volunteer Service
Pat Garritty said he volunteers because it was what he was raised to do.
“I’m just following in my parents footsteps,” Garritty said. “They gave back and they did the same thing. That is just what we did in our family.”
The award recipients echoed the same words again and again, “Sylvan Lake is a great community.”
Sylvan Lake Mayor Sean McIntyre asked the guest to imagine a world without volunteers. He said that world wouldn’t have youth opportunities like Girl Guides, Scouts or sports.
He told the audience Sylvan Lake would look different without volunteers as there would be no Snow Angels, Meals on Wheels or a senior’s bus program.
“It would leave such a valuable portion of our community feeling isolated, forgotten and without honour,” McIntyre said.
McIntyre said a world without volunteers would also affect school breakfast programs, historical societies and animal rescues.
“Imagine a world without community events or concerts or recitals, without performing arts or vital services like a food bank … Wouldn’t that be a sad, sorry world?” McIntyre said.
Follow Megan Roth on Twitter