“Have a heart, lend a hand, stand out and make a difference. Changing the world always needs volunteers.” ~ Anonymous
This past month was Volunteer Appreciation month, and in our community, we have had the opportunity to celebrate our wonderful volunteers. Many of these volunteers do incredible and important work for Warman and they often do so without any form of recognition. That’s why, in April, we take the time to celebrate them and their work, after all, being told you are appreciated is one of the most uplifting things that you can hear. So, to ensure that volunteerism in our community does not go unnoticed, I wanted to take the time today to talk about volunteering in our community and why it is so important.
To begin I think it is critical to share the history associated with volunteerism and why volunteers are so important to the fabric of every community, including Warman. The first idea of a volunteer was developed by Benjamin Franklin when the term volunteer fire fighter was used in 1736. Today this idea has become a norm for our country, as more than 70% of all fire fighters are volunteers today. These fearless volunteers have truly made a difference in the communities in which they live. I want to note though, that while volunteer fire fighters are invaluable members of our community, there are others, perhaps that are less noticeable that have also left their mark on history as well as on Warman. During the years of the Great Depression and WWII, thousands of volunteers worked together to help assist with the many needs of the time including collecting supplies, entertaining soldiers on leave and caring for the injured. Fast forward to today, these volunteers still play critical roles in our communities. They are the ones that assist the community in addressing the needs of the day. Perhaps the needs are new school playground equipment or funds for the local food bank. Whatever the needs are, volunteers are the ones who step up in a time of need and forever make the community a better place.
Evident from this brief history lesson, the spirit of volunteerism in Canada and more specifically in Saskatchewan, is a deeply rooted tradition. In this blog I have included the list of past winners of the four categories of volunteer awards that are given to local Warman residents each year. If you look at the numerous names I am certain there are more than a few that you will know. We have so many wonderful residents who have done so much for our community. We even have families who have continued the tradition of volunteering and have been awarded for their work. In fact, did you know that we have awarded the Citizen of the Year award to a mother and daughter? Although awarded many years apart, they were awarded for their strong commitment to Warman. Each of the individuals and groups listed in the attached photos stand out because they have shown their love for their community in so many ways and we will be forever grateful.
So why volunteer? The more we give, the happier we feel. Volunteering increases self-confidence. You are doing good for others and the community, which provides a natural sense of accomplishment. Your role as a volunteer can also give you a sense of pride and identity. So today I ask you to consider connecting with your community by volunteering. No matter what you do, you will do something that will make a lasting impact on your community.
I am also curious after reading this post and looking at the award winners listed, do you know of someone who deserves to be recognized? I encourage you to leave a comment below thanking someone you know who has volunteered in the community and has made a lasting difference, big or small, on Warman and its residents. Want to do more? Consider nominating them for next year’s awards. Appreciating those who have given so much is a wonderful thing.
Thank you to Warman volunteers of yesterday, today, and tomorrow.