Longtime Clearwater resident and avid volunteer, Hazel Wadlegger, has been lending her time to help others since she was young, growing up on a farm in Upper Clearwater. She said she continued to help out around the community because communities can’t survive without volunteers. Photo submitted

Longtime Clearwater resident and avid volunteer, Hazel Wadlegger, has been lending her time to help others since she was young, growing up on a farm in Upper Clearwater. She said she continued to help out around the community because communities can’t survive without volunteers. Photo submitted

Volunteering helps communities function

“You need to be at the table and help make decisions, but also do the work. Put your money where your mouth is.”

When it comes to volunteering, longtime resident and community supporter Hazel Wadlegger said it was just something she grew up with.

Having been raised in rural Upper Clearwater, neighbours lent their time to help one another and that’s how it was.

“There was really no local governments then, so everybody did stuff and there was no payment for anything. If you wanted something done, you did it,” said Wadlegger.

“So it’s volunteering in a way. You learned that you helped people and you didn’t get paid for it. There was no expectation. If you didn’t volunteer, you just didn’t have things.”

She said growing up on a farm, when you finished your own haying and a neighbour needed help with theirs, off you went. The same happened in the fall with cutting wood. Once your own wood was chopped, you moved on to the folks next door and helped with their pile.

There was no payment, that was life.

After Wadlegger got married and had children she started volunteering in a more traditional sense, helping out with whatever groups her children got involved with.

“I had a bookkeeping business back then so I was always got the secretary or treasurer’s job. I was always involved with things from the kids right through swimming when they were little, to the ski hill when they started at four-years-old,” Wadlegger said.

“I just believe that if you have your family involved, you need to be involved.”

One of the reasons Wadlegger takes this approach is because if parents don’t take part in their childrens’ groups, the groups might stop running, and it shouldn’t be up to just two or three volunteers taking on all the work, but everyone should take on a job and help out.

Another reason is that if you’re in the club, you can have some say in the direction you want things to go.

“If you’re not going to get involved, don’t sit back on the sidelines complaining about what’s happening,” said Wadlegger.

“You need to be at the table and help make decisions, but also do the work. Put your money where your mouth is.”

Other groups Wadlegger has been part of over the years include the local Royal Purple, the hospital board before it got its own advisory board, school Parent Advisory Committees, the above-mentioned swim and ski clubs, the Wells Gray Outdoors Club, as well as the Rotary Club, of which she’s been a member for roughly 15 years.

She also served as a school board trustee for many years.

Communities need volunteers, she said, because without them it’s hard for a community to function properly.

“You can’t have things without volunteers, that’s just the way it is,” she said.

“It’s just giving back to your community, which is a good thing and a necessary thing.”

Would you like to nominate someone who has gone above and beyond to serve the community? We’d love to hear from you! Phone the Clearwater Times at 250-674-3343 or email newsroom@clearwatertimes.com


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