Despite a call from the crowd for a long speech, Cam Gillies kept his remarks brief when the Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) honoured him as the Area F Volunteer of the Year.
He didn’t talk about his efforts, accomplishments or motivations. Instead he used his moment at the microphone to champion volunteerism, offering his appreciation to other volunteers and congratulating the RDEK for promoting volunteerism.
“It’s a great honour. I mean I know that there are many people inside this room and outside of this room that are just as deserving as me, but it’s really great, I think, that the RDEK and others thank volunteers,” he said. “We need to celebrate (volunteerism) and celebrate all the volunteers in the community because when you think about it a lot of the great stuff that happens and adds vibrancy to our community is really created by volunteers, so bravo to all of you that are volunteers out there.”
A moment earlier as Area F Director Susan Clovechok listed off the organizations and projects Mr. Gillies serves to advance – from the Toby Creek Nordic Ski Club, to Wings over the Rockies, the Lake Windermere Whiteway, an electric car share program, Wildsight and more – she paused to take a breath.
“He’s a keen birder and photographer and can also be found often volunteering at the Windermere elementary school. I have no idea how he has time to make a living, but clearly he’s not doing any binge watching on Netflix,” she said. “Thank you for everything you do for your community and the people that live here.”
One of the nominators who put Mr. Gillies’ name forward for the honour wrote that: “He freely puts over thousands of hours of his time annually into supporting countless community efforts.”
While that might seem like an extreme time commitment, it’s not surprising for Kate Hale and Carly Nickurak, who said that amidst all of his volunteering Mr. Gillies helps them and the others in the Nordic Club up to three times a week all year long.
“He goes to every race with us and waxes our skis,” Ms. Hale said.
Ms. Nickurak added: “He’s made so much of an impact on, like, all of the kids.”