Celebrating Clearwater’s volunteers

Members of the Clearwater Volunteer Fire Department. The department currently has 20 members, five of which are new recruits. They could always use more members and train every Thursday evening. Reach out to firechief@docdc.ca for more information. (Stephanie Hagenaars/Clearwater Times)Members of the Clearwater Volunteer Fire Department. The department currently has 20 members, five of which are new recruits. They could always use more members and train every Thursday evening. Reach out to firechief@docdc.ca for more information. (Stephanie Hagenaars/Clearwater Times)
The Vavenby Volunteer Fire Department currently has 19 members. Like many other volunteer departments, they could always use more recruits. The group holds fire practice every Sunday, but also has medical practice on the first Wednesday of the month and rescue practice on the third Wednesday. For more information contact the department at vavenbyvfd@tnrd.ca. (Stephanie Hagenaars/Clearwater Times)The Vavenby Volunteer Fire Department currently has 19 members. Like many other volunteer departments, they could always use more recruits. The group holds fire practice every Sunday, but also has medical practice on the first Wednesday of the month and rescue practice on the third Wednesday. For more information contact the department at vavenbyvfd@tnrd.ca. (Stephanie Hagenaars/Clearwater Times)
Blackpool Fire Rescue houses both the volunteer fire department and highway rescue. Here, they are pictured with the Little Fort Volunteer Fire Department who joined the team for training. BFR currently has 19 members, while the LFFD has 10, and both are actively recruiting and always welcome new members. The fire departments train every Wednesday evening and the Blackpool highway rescue team practices the first Tuesday of each month. For more information about recruitment and other questions reach out to blackpool.firerescue@outlook.com. (Stephanie Hagenaars/Clearwater Times)Blackpool Fire Rescue houses both the volunteer fire department and highway rescue. Here, they are pictured with the Little Fort Volunteer Fire Department who joined the team for training. BFR currently has 19 members, while the LFFD has 10, and both are actively recruiting and always welcome new members. The fire departments train every Wednesday evening and the Blackpool highway rescue team practices the first Tuesday of each month. For more information about recruitment and other questions reach out to blackpool.firerescue@outlook.com. (Stephanie Hagenaars/Clearwater Times)
The Clearwater & District Hospice Society is in full swing. Members recently completed a course in bereavement volunteer visitor training, which provides them with the skills to “companion” anyone who has suffered the loss of a loved one. This service is free of charge and available to all clients as long as they need it. Members of the CDHS are also available to “sit” with patients in the Hospice Room at Dr. Helmcken Memorial Hospital or in the home. All hospice services are free and confidential. Referrals can be made through your doctor or you can refer yourself by calling (778) 208-0137 or email clearwaterhospice91@gmail.com. From l-r: Bobbi Parsons, Julie Mayo, Joan Mumford, Eileen Sedgwick, Shirley Frost, Cheryl Johnson and Sandra Holmes. (Stephanie Hagenaars/Clearwater Times)The Clearwater & District Hospice Society is in full swing. Members recently completed a course in bereavement volunteer visitor training, which provides them with the skills to “companion” anyone who has suffered the loss of a loved one. This service is free of charge and available to all clients as long as they need it. Members of the CDHS are also available to “sit” with patients in the Hospice Room at Dr. Helmcken Memorial Hospital or in the home. All hospice services are free and confidential. Referrals can be made through your doctor or you can refer yourself by calling (778) 208-0137 or email clearwaterhospice91@gmail.com. From l-r: Bobbi Parsons, Julie Mayo, Joan Mumford, Eileen Sedgwick, Shirley Frost, Cheryl Johnson and Sandra Holmes. (Stephanie Hagenaars/Clearwater Times)
A few members of the Wells Gray Search and Rescue team course marshalling at the annual Birchleg cross-country ski event in Clearwater in February. (WG SAR/Facebook)A few members of the Wells Gray Search and Rescue team course marshalling at the annual Birchleg cross-country ski event in Clearwater in February. (WG SAR/Facebook)
Members of the Clearwater & District Food Bank, as well as the Clearwater Rotary. Both groups do a tremendous job lending a hand to those in need in the area. From l-r: Jeff Orum, Dwayne Thiessen, Hazel Wadlegger, Tim Panko, Amelia McRae, Linda Selbee, Charlotte McRae, Rose Bennett, Isabelle Hadford and Pearl McAloney. (Stephanie Hagenaars/Clearwater Times)Members of the Clearwater & District Food Bank, as well as the Clearwater Rotary. Both groups do a tremendous job lending a hand to those in need in the area. From l-r: Jeff Orum, Dwayne Thiessen, Hazel Wadlegger, Tim Panko, Amelia McRae, Linda Selbee, Charlotte McRae, Rose Bennett, Isabelle Hadford and Pearl McAloney. (Stephanie Hagenaars/Clearwater Times)
The Dr. Helmcken Memorial Hospital Auxiliary supports patient programs and services by raising funds through various means, including 50/50 draws, to purchase equipment. Their fundraising efforts and support help to mitigate limited health care budgets and increasing demands for services. Members of the auxiliary are pictured here at a Christmas luncheon. (Submitted photo)The Dr. Helmcken Memorial Hospital Auxiliary supports patient programs and services by raising funds through various means, including 50/50 draws, to purchase equipment. Their fundraising efforts and support help to mitigate limited health care budgets and increasing demands for services. Members of the auxiliary are pictured here at a Christmas luncheon. (Submitted photo)

National Volunteer Week, April 24 to 30, seeks to recognize those who generously dedicate their time and energy for the benefit of our community. This year, the theme is Empathy in Action, affirming the connection between volunteerism and empathy. It is this human connection that is at the heart of healthier individuals and stronger communities.

Empathy helps people relate to others and build awareness of different experiences. It is through empathy that we are able to connect people in ideas and actions and helps create bonds forged in common goals and aspirations.

Volunteering can help us develop empathy, by allowing us to see the world through the eyes of others, experience their lives through conversation and support. Empathy can connect people from diverse backgrounds, expanding our views, and build our capacity to work as a team and contribute to a vibrant, inclusive society.

Many jobs wouldn’t be possible without the hard work and dedication of volunteers. Clearwater has around 60 active groups in the area that work tirelessly to support the community, such as the food bank, hospice society and hospital auxiliary, as well as others that are the foundation of our local emergency support system, including the fire departments, highway rescue and search and rescue.

Then there are those that help us grow and be our best through volunteering as coaches for youth and high school sports, or in PACs to make breakfast programs and school fundraisers possible.

It is essential that we recognize the value of the caring and compassion that each one has shown another, and that we recognize the power of people, organizations and sectors working together.

Small communities like Clearwater most often have the biggest hearts with volunteers who create caring, collaborative and compassionate communities. Next week, let’s celebrate the contributions of those volunteers: their actions, their understanding and their genuine concern for the world around them.

Volunteering, putting empathy into action, can build communities where people feel happier, healthier, and more welcome.



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