Jeanne Davidson of the Cranbrook Kimberley Hospice Society has been named Volunteer of the Year.
The long-time community volunteer was recognized during the annual Volunteer Appreciation and Awards Gala on Friday, April 12 at the Pavilion at St. Eugene Golf Resort and Casino.
More than 200 volunteers attended the gala, organized each year by Volunteer Kootenays and Canadian Mental Health Association – Kootenays to recognize the hours of hard work volunteers contribute to Cranbrook and Kimberley.
Bill Hughes of Investors Group, the event’s premier sponsor, presented the Volunteer of the Year award to Jeanne.
“Jeanne’s generous spirit and love for the community knows no bounds,” he said.
Jeanne has volunteered with the Hospice Society since 2009, as well as volunteer roles with the Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Cranbrook.
“I am humbled by the honour bestowed on me today,” she said in accepting the award to a standing ovation. “I feel a little overwhelmed by the gratitude.”
She passed on that gratitude to her colleagues.
“Thank you to the volunteers,” she said. “They are the ones who contribute their time and passion. They are the ones who keep the pulse of the organization beating.”
The Family Volunteer of the Year award went to the Beaulac family: Shauna and John and their children, Jazmine, 12, and Robby, 10.
The younger Beaulacs accepted the award, which was sponsored by Medichair Kootenay Boundary.
The Beaulac family are long time volunteers for numerous community organizations, but in particular they dedicate many hours to Fort Steele Heritage Town.
Jazmine read a speech written by her mother, who was out of town and couldn’t attend the gala.
“We volunteer as a family and it makes it more special because family is all about spending time together,” Shauna wrote in the speech. “Our kids have been volunteering since the age of two, before they could say a word. If you start your kids at a young age, they don’t know any different; it’s just a part of life.”
In the Youth Volunteer category, sponsored by BC Hydro, 16-year-old Danika Reid received the award.
Danika has been volunteering from a young age; she contributes around 30 hours a month for multiple community groups, including Columbia Basin Trust Youth Advisory Council, Mount Baker Interact and Wild Start Breakfast.
“It is an honour to receive the award,” Danika said. “Volunteering is really important to me. It’s something one does without seeking recognition, so getting this recognition is very special and a great feeling.”
The Cranbrook Health Care Auxiliary was named Group Volunteer of the Year in the category sponsored by Cranbrook Dodge. Since 2000, the auxiliary has raised $4 million for the East Kootenay Regional Hospital.
President Rachel Christie accepted the award on behalf of the auxiliary, who were each bedecked in fascinators at the gala.
“It is an honour and a privilege for me to accept this award on behalf of the hard-working, dedicated volunteers of the Cranbrook Health Care Auxiliary,” she said.
Twenty-five volunteer organizations were represented at the gala: Big Brothers Big Sisters; Bud Abbott and friends; Columbia Basin Trust; Columbia Valley Hospice Society; Cranbrook Alliance Church; Cranbrook Food Bank Society; Cranbrook Health Care Auxiliary; Cranbrook Kimberley Hospice Society; Cranbrook Kin Club; Cranbrook Search and Rescue; East Kootenay Community Credit Union; Friends of the Cranbrook Public Library; Juvenile Diabetes Association; Key City Theatre; Kimberley Search and Rescue; Meals on Wheels; Restorative Justice; Royal Canadian Legion Branch #24; Salvation Army; Street Angels; Telus Community Ambassadors; United Way of Cranbrook and Kimberley; and Canadian Mental Health Association – Kootenays programs Volunteer Assisted Shopping Program, Crisis Line, and Volunteer Income Tax Program.