As the last few tables of volunteers stood in line for roast beef and yorkshire puddings, with rivers of gravy to pour on top, Rotary Club of Invermere members descended on the unsuspecting Invermere Health Care Auxiliary Society members Monday evening at the Royal Canadian Legion branch.
One service club paid tribute to another, naming the auxiliary society as this year’s citizens of the year.
Rotary member Yolande Dolman, citizen of the year committe chair, read out a speech on behalf of president John Tames, and gave the society a beautiful bouquet of flowers and plaque in recognition of their service.
The Invermere Health Care Auxiliary Society, which operates the thrift store, donated $218,691.54 to multiple organizations in 2017. A staggering 170 health care auxiliary volunteers logged 28,629 volunteer hours last year alone.
“There is no question that this group epitomizes Rotary’s principle of ‘Service above Self’. We are blessed to know them,” said Ms. Dolman. “Thanks for letting us flashmob you, and have a wonderful evening. Oh, in case you didn’t catch this – you guys are citizens of the year. Thanks!”
The sudden recognition of what was happening filled the room with exclamations of ‘Oh!’, clapping, smiles, and even laughter, from the roomful of volunteers who spend endless hours sorting, selecting, and selling items in the local thrift store to raise funds for projects near and dear to the community’s heart, such as Interior Health, Stars, Panorama Fire Department, East Kootenay Foundation for Health, the Columbia Valley Centre, scholarships and bursaries, and more.
Wendi Edie, current president of the society, told the Pioneer she was ecstatic when she heard they would be presented with this honour.
She says Invermere as a whole is a very caring community, and thrift store volunteers have fun socializing while they work for the greater good of the community together.