By Camille Aubin
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The Rotary Club of Invermere has named Blaine Nester and Don Devlin, co-founders of Cycling Without Age Invermere, as its Citizen of the Year.

The Rotary Club has given out the award for decades. Nominations are first solicited from the community at large, with people nominating those they feel exemplify the goal of Rotary, which is service above self, explained Rotary Club of Invermere president Yvonne Redeker to the Pioneer.

“It’s really meant to recognize the community volunteer service that happens unrecognized and largely unnoticed. People just merrily go along and do their selfless work, which is the case this year. These two fellows have initiated a project initiative on a volunteer basis, with well-being as the goal,” said Redeker.

The worldwide volunteer organization Cycling Without Age, of which the local group is a chapter, helps seniors feel welcome in the community. During a bike ride, senior being pedalled around by Blaine and Don get a chance to feel reconnected to their surroundings, their community, and nature.

“They (Nester and Devlin) went about their work with passion and with concern for the people they were intending to support and service, which is not only the people that take rides but also the population in general, because once you have a healthy happy individual, then their family members are more at ease and the community is uplifted by seeing such an enthusiastic program going on,” said Redeker to the Pioneer.

Well-known long-time resident Nester has lived in the valley for more than 30 years. He first started Cycling Without Age back in 2017 after watching a video on the organization, and deciding that the project was a perfect fit for the Invermere community. When he approached Columbia Garden Village, he met Devlin, a caregiver there, who shared his goal of bringing the elderly outside and connecting them with the community.

“I’ve always been interested in volunteering, and when this opportunity came up with Cycling Without Age, it was a perfect opportunity to combine passions that I have for both cycling and caring for the elderly. Of all the volunteering I’ve done in my life, this has definitely been the most heartwarming and I am just always so excited about doing,” said Devlin.

Devlin was part of the Rotary Club in Invermere for more than 10 years. “I know how the Rotary Club is all about service above self and, we’re raising money for the community and just being a service group. I’ve always believed that volunteering is something that you should do to give back to the community you live in. So it’s just been great to be able to do that here.”

When Nester learned about his nomination, he was surprised as they are many deserving people within the community. “It (the award) was a really nice thing to get, but that’s not why we do it (Cycling Without Age). It’s rewarding to see what difference it makes in people’s lives.”

The two agreed that none of this could have happened without other volunteers. “Don and I got the award, but really it’s for the whole group of volunteers and everyone involved,” said Nester. Devlin added that “Without our volunteers, without the support of the community and those that we do rides for, without all of them jumping on board, none of this would be here today, and really a lot of things have to go to all the people that support us. We’re super grateful that it’s come together and has been so popular, and both of us look forward to doing it for a number of years for sure.”

If everything goes well, Cycling Without Age will be back for some bike rides this summer.

For more information about the bike rides or to volunteer visit: