Bruce Mavis (right) was involved in many community groups and activities, including the Heart and Stroke Foundation. (Langley Advance Times files)

Bruce Mavis (right) was involved in many community groups and activities, including the Heart and Stroke Foundation. (Langley Advance Times files)

Langley loses long-time volunteer and one of Santa’s best elves

Bruce Mavis helped out with many groups and causes during his 81 years of life

His workaday life was with Canada Post but Bruce Mavis was also a consummate community booster.

Mavis, from the family that settled in the community in 1888, died March 16 at the age of 81.

In 2012, Bruce received the Eric Flowerdew Volunteer of the Year Award, presented by the Township to a local resident for outstanding dedication to the community.

People may have met Bruce without ever knowing it.

He was a dedicated volunteer with the local Community Policing programs but was better known as his alter ego – Safety Bear, attending community events and parades, sweating in the heat and getting soaked in the rain. He also worked on community policing projects and displays.

Bruce had carried the Olympic torch for the 2010 Games along a section of Mavis Avenue in Fort Langley, was a long-time volunteer at the Fort Langley National Historic Site for more than two decades.

• READ MORE: Mavis a fitting torch bearer for Fort Langley

By the time of his being given the Flowerdew award, he had accumulated more than 700 hours of service at the site, co-ordinating volunteer activities, conducting research, helping with heritage projects, and doing various functions.

He was also involved with the Langley Heritage Society and for the annual Douglas Day banquet, ensured the volunteers dressed in period garb with the Royal Engineers front and centre at community events.

Bruce had just retired from volunteering for Langley Meals on Wheels about two weeks prior to his passing. He started as a driver in 1992 and served on the board and as president.

“Definitely a super hero in our eyes,” said Shannon Woykin, Meals on Wheels executive director.

She said he was always up for any task that needed doing and really cared for the people to whom he delivered meals, making sure they were okay. He had co-ordinated the Food and Friends program for older residents at the Otter location prior to COVID and with gatherings starting to resume was about to start overseeing the Aldergrove Food and Friends program but had to step back in recent weeks.

“He really had a passion for the community,” Wyokin said.

At the Flowerdew presentation, it was noted that he also helped people who have had strokes get in and out of the pool and walk in the water at the W.C. Blair Recreation Centre. He was local unit president for the Heart and Stroke Foundation back in the 1980s.

For several years he led the merry band of Christmas elves who would help Santa by sorting through letters to the jolly ol’ elf through Canada Post’s HOHOHO program and making sure everyone received replies, even those letters from abroad.

Mavis spent more than 25 years as a postal elf and loved getting letters from parents who share that this is their baby’s first Christmas.

“Those letters I often will send a personal message to, writing and welcoming the baby to the world,” Mavis said in a 2015 profile on the program.

• READ MORE: Township celebrates its volunteers

Mavis’ great-grandfather had purchased the land from the Hudson’s Bay Company back in 1888 for $6,000, and Bruce, born April 24, 1940, always stayed connected to the community.

His family has asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Langley Meals on Wheels.

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