Ray Scott presents representatives of Ponoka Victims Services (from left) board chair Heather Baich

Ray Scott presents representatives of Ponoka Victims Services (from left) board chair Heather Baich

Couple, organization honoured for community commitment

A humble couple and a hard working, but not well-known organization were recognized last week.

A humble couple and a hard working, but not well-known organization were recognized last week.

Doug and Shirley Gill alongside Ponoka Victims Services were presented with awards for their volunteer commitment to the community during the 13th annual Volunteer Appreciation Night on Tuesday, April 12 at the Kinsmen Community Centre. The awards coincide with National Volunteer Week in Canada, which ran from April 10 to 16.

Board members and advocates with Ponoka Victims Services were on hand to receive the Rita Scott volunteer award from Rita’s son, Ray Scott. The award goes to an organization or individual demonstrating a significant contribution and exemplifying the true spirit of volunteerism.

“This year, the award goes to a group that is caring, does a high profile job with highly skilled individuals who listen to those in need and are passionate about what they do,” Scott said in announcing the winner.

“Ponoka Victims Services are a committed team that performed 705 hours of work in 2015 and are behind the scenes at some of the worst times. They are to be commended for that job and it certainly hasn’t gone unnoticed.”

Ponoka Victims Services presently have 14 victims advocates and is operated by six board members along with an executive director.

Executive director Miranda Pinksen was among the several people that came up to accept the award and spoke on what this means to all of the volunteers involved.

“Our roles include working with police to attend when they have to go to the door to inform someone of a family death or help victims after an accident, fire or other incident to assist them in dealing with the trauma they face,” Pinksen told the assembled crowd.

“We also help the Canadian Red Cross and our advocates are always ready to go plus they go through constant training. This is great for this group to be recognized.”

Pinksen added they are hoping to add six more victims advocates and urged anyone wanting to volunteer to contact their office.

Heart and Soul

The couple Doug and Shirley Gill who have been longtime volunteers for a variety of organizations and events were honoured with the Morna Chorney Heart and Soul volunteer award, something that hit close to their hearts.

“It’s an honour and very humbling to receive this award as Morna was a good friend. There is a large workforce in Canada, so we accept this for all of those volunteers,” Doug said.

“We have been blessed with good health and the time to do this. It’s nice when you do the work when no one knows about it and this has also kept us young and together.”

This is the 10th year the award has been handed out and recognizes the contributions, leadership, service and community spirit of an active volunteer or couple 60 years and older.

It was those qualities Morna Chorney displayed as someone, “who poured her heart and soul into each and every volunteer duty role,” explained her grandson Carlen Cire in presenting the award.

Chorney served on various groups at both the local and provincial level and had a strong commitment to ensuring she made a difference and enhanced the quality of life for seniors.

The night also included a chance for all those that volunteer in the community to get together, have some cake and enjoy some entertainment following the awards presentations.