The benefits of volunteering

A Cranbrook woman talks about what she has gained since becoming a volunteer

Volunteering can benefit the volunteer as much as the person they are helping. That’s the message one Cranbrook volunteer wants to share ahead of an information session later this month.

Diana Fitzpatrick, who is a member of the Cranbrook Health Care Auxiliary, began volunteering her time eight years ago during a dark period in her life.

Her husband of 27 years, Mark Fitzpatrick, had recently passed away, and Diana was struggling to cope.

“He was sick for a long time. You think that you’re prepared, but when it actually happened, I was not prepared,” Diana told the Townsman.

“I became so depressed. I felt like I went into a big black pit and I couldn’t get out.”

She went to her doctor and was given a prescription for antidepressants. But soon after, a friend invited Diana to join her on a volunteer shift at the former Steepleview extended care facility.

“The very first day that I walked out the door, I just said to myself, ‘Get over it. These poor people can’t go home; I can.’ After that first day, I was much better, and I’m still okay. I mean, I miss him, but there’s nothing I can do.”

She and a friend took coffee, tea and snacks to patients at Steepleview.

“We wore these pretty flowered red tops, and we’d just go around to each patient and give them what they wanted. And we always sat and talked to them,” said Diana.

Now she volunteers at the hospital, and is involved with Better At Home seniors support service. Diana recommends volunteering not just for what it gives to the community, but for what the volunteer gets back.

“Volunteering has helped me tremendously – absolutely tremendously. I look forward to going in every week. I absolutely love the job. I feel like I’m giving back to the community.

“Sometimes I feel guilty because it has helped me more than I’ve felt I was helping the people. But all the way around, everybody’s happy.

“It’s the best thing I’ve ever done and I’m just so glad I did it. I’ll continue to do it until I can’t walk.”

If you are interested in volunteering to help seniors, you can learn more about Cranbrook Better At Home at an information session coming up on Tuesday, March 25 from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Community Connections Society’s meeting room, 125-10th Avenue South, next to the Associate Clinic. RSVP by phoning 250-426-2943 or emailing

Better At Home helps seniors who need a hand at home with day-to-day, non-medical tasks such as housekeeping, minor home repairs, snow shovelling, and yard work, and who may need assistance getting to appointments or shopping.

If you think you may be suffering from depression, it’s important to seek medical attention. Contact Cranbrook Mental Health at 250-420-2210 or the East Kootenay Crisis Line at 1-888-353-CARE (2273).

Just Posted

The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League met for their AGM and announced a number of new initiatives, new awards and changes in their executive committee, as well as the starting date for the 2021-22 season. Paul Rodgers file.
KIJHL announces start dates for 2021-22 season

Season set to begin Oct. 1 with league still following all health guidelines

Calvin Dickson photo.
Severe thunderstorm watch in effect for East Kootenay

Conditions favourable for the development of thunderstorms, hail and heavy rain

The Independent Investigations Office of BC is looking into a Castlegar incident. File photo
Police watchdog investigating Castlegar incident

IIO: Woman sustained a reportedly self-inflicted injury

Mount Baker Secondary School in Cranbrook.
Graduation ceremony in the works for MBSS Class of 2021

The Mount Bake Secondary School Class of 2021 will have a graduation… Continue reading

After being forced to cancel in 2020 due to the pandemic, the Wasa Triathlon is being organized for August. Bulletin file photo.
Information released for Gerick Sports Wasa Triathlon scheduled for August

In 2020 the COVID pandemic forced the Gerick Sports Wasa Triathlon to… Continue reading

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

B.C. ambulance station in Revelstoke is expected to get a new system called the Scheduled On-Call (SOC) this fall. (Liam Harrap - Revelstoke Review)
B.C. ambulance changes could put Revelstoke residents at risk, warn local paramedics

Paramedics said to expect a substantial increase in ambulance response time starting this fall

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

David and Collet Stephan leave for a break during an appeal hearing in Calgary on Thursday, March 9, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Appeal Court rejects stay for Alberta couple facing third trial in son’s death

Pair accused in their earlier trials of not seeking medical attention for their son sooner

Most Read