ADAM JACKSON/Ponoka News
With the arrival of National volunteer week, the Morna Chorney Heart and Soul award was presented to another well-deserving volunteer.
The award, which is directed toward senior citizens who volunteer in the community, was awarded to Marnie Wilkins, a long-serving volunteer of the Ponoka area.
The Chorney family, representing the late Morna Chorney, presented the award at the Kinsmen Community Centre on April 14 before a crowd of approximately 50 local volunteers and family members.
After a lengthy introduction of Marnie, detailing the numerous groups and organizations she is involved with in the community, Wilkins was given a standing ovation and an opportunity to accept the award.
“They started talking about the winner and I thought to myself, ‘Is that me they’re talking about?’” said Wilkins.
During her acceptance speech, Wilkins provided a story about one of her first times volunteering.
When she lived in Edmonton, she used to visit a neighbour that was blind and read to her. For her generosity, she was rewarded with milk and two oatmeal cookies.
“I remember it was only two cookies,” joked Wilkins. “She had to ensure that I didn’t spoil my supper.”
The grandmother-of-eight gracefully accepted the award and also recognized previous winners in the audience.
“Volunteers lead with hearts, souls and minds,” said Wilkins.
The evening was also highlighted by a special guest speaker, David Adie.
Adie, a Calgary native, first addressed the volunteers at the meeting, insisting that they cannot be thanked enough for their work.
“There is not enough appreciation in the world to thank you,” said Adie.
Much like Wilkins, Adie detailed his first experience volunteering. When he was young, an elderly woman asked him to mow her lawn. After he did, he was rewarded with a cookie. After that, he said, he just kept doing it.
Adie then went on and told his story about why he had to run the 5000km of the Great Wall of China.
While he was between acting jobs in the 1980’s, he had a job at a youth treatment centre, where he met a youth named Shawn.
After trying to get through to Shawn, Adie promised him that they would run the Great Wall of China together.
Shortly after, Adie learned that Shawn had committed suicide.
Around twelve years later, through illness and challenges posed from every possible corner, Adie, along with his brother, ran the full stretch of the Great Wall of China in 99 days.
Adie has been the star of a few documentaries, but insists that he only completed it so that he could come through on the promise he made to Shawn.