Outstanding volunteers who generously invest their time and skills in the community were honoured April 9 at an annual volunteer awards ceremony for National Volunteer Week.
Each year, the local Alberta Health Services (AHS) facilities Ponoka Hospital and Care Centre and the Centennial Centre for Mental Health and Brain Injury (CCMHB) present volunteers with two awards, the Morna Chorney Heart and Soul Volunteer Award and the Rita Scott Diamond volunteer award.
This year, Ponoka resident Maurice Mazurat earned the Morna Chorney volunteer award.
Morna’s grandson, Carlen Chorney, called him a guiding light for many of the children in the community.
“Believing in promoting children to have social responsibility is something that he holds close to his heart. He does this through such activities as a town clean-up on Earth Day, working with both the RCMP and Fire Department to help teach bicycle safety in schools,” he said.
“The reason I’ve been volunteering so long is I enjoy what I am doing and that is the purpose of what I am doing. I’ve seen kids benefit from the programs. I’ve seen the whole community benefit,” said Mazurat.
Unfortunately, Chorney announced this was the last year his family would be offering the award.
For the second year in a row, the Rita Scott Diamond volunteer award went to an organization instead of an individual.
This year, it was the Ponoka Rising Sun Clubhouse Society.
Rita’s oldest son Ray Scott praised the society for its fundraising efforts and initiatives in the community for the past 22 years.
“They have secured a work program implementing waste and reduction. With this work program, they have looked out for the workers by increasing their wages to minimum wage scale and their fundraisers with the casino and they have yearly charity golf tournaments. They advocate and they support programming and initiatives that meet the needs of their membership.”
Scott said the award is a way to honour how his mother, a well-known community member in Ponoka, served the town.
“It really encourages volunteers who just quietly work without looking for recognition who are just giving of themselves and make Ponoka a better place.”
The event took place at the Ponoka United Church.