Passion, dedication, and a commitment to community are the driving forces behind the volunteers who receive the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers on behalf of the Governor General of Canada.
Well, five such Langley individuals were bestowed the honour more than two years late – thanks to COVID.
A fistful of Langley Lodge volunteers – specifically existing and former board members – were selected for the national acknowledgment in fall of 2019. Langley Care Society planned to celebrate the medal recipients during the Lodge’s annual volunteer celebration in spring 2020, but as Lodge CEO Aly Devji noted, a pandemic happened.
“The Sovereign Medal for Volunteers recognizes the exceptional achievements of Canadians from across the country in a wide range of fields,” Devji noted. “The medal builds on the legacy and spirit of the caring Canadian award by honouring the dedication and commitment of volunteers.”
Four of the five Lodge recipients were finally able to be honoured during a volunteer dinner on April 26, where they were lauded for their past and present contributions. There were about 75 people present, most of those current volunteers, explained Jude Henders, the Lodge’s volunteer coordinator.
Acknowledgment was given to Terry Metcalfe, who served on the Langley Care Society board of directors from 2004 to 2019, and the affiliated Langley Care Foundation from 2008 to 2020.
He was joined by fellow former board member Brian Parkinson, who served with Langley Care Society from 1995 to 2019 and Langley Care Foundation from 2006 to 2019.
Similarly, Sharon Anglin was recognized for her years on the boards, first Langley Care Society from 2008 to 2019, and Langley Care Foundation from 2008 to 2020.
Jeremy Sutton was also given the volunteer achievement award for his service on the Langley Care Society board from 2008 to 2018.
And too was Ray Weins, who missed the dinner, who has served on the Langley Care Society board since 1990, and continues in that role today.
“They embody the caring country we aspire to build,” Governor General Mary Simon says of all medal recipients.
In addition to its board of directors, the Lodge currently has about 85 volunteers involved with the organization, in various roles. That number, Henders said, is almost half of what it was prior to COVID, when they had as many as 160 people actively helping.
“We were very fortunate that during the pandemic both our board of directors, as well as auxiliary members, were able to virtually support the Lodge during what has likely been the most difficult period in all of our lives,” Devji interjected.
“Unfortunately, due to the public safety restrictions, our community volunteers were also not permitted to visit the Lodge or any other care home,” he explained, noting that with some lifting of the restrictions this past October, the Lodge has since been able to welcome many back.
“Our volunteers play an integral role in enhancing the quality of life for our elders. Our wonderful volunteers provide support in a variety of ways,” Devji said, noting some of their roles include social meal companion, spiritual care support, recreation program support, as well as friendly visiting.
“We recognize the decision to volunteer comes from personal motivation,” the CEO elaborated.
“Some volunteers are family members of loved ones who have a personal connection to the Lodge, some are our future health-care workers who are wanting to gain first-hand experiences in a health-care setting, while others of faith join us providing emotional and spiritual support that our elders desire.”
The number of volunteers currently helping at Langley Lodge is steadily increasing again, but more are always welcome, Henders said, noting anyone interested in helping can call her directly at 604-532-4209, or apply through an online application.
“We hope that that number will continue to grow as we strive to make a difference in the lives of our elders and our entire community,” Devji concluded.
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