It was an evening of good food, laughter and gratitude as the City of Langley honoured those who volunteer their time to give back to the community.
The annual volunteer appreciation dinner, held at Cascades Casino on Feb. 9, saw dozens of community members recognized for their efforts.
The evening began with addresses from local dignitaries and City councillors, who gave their thanks to those who help out with the City’s many committees, events and charities.
“Today we celebrate our amazing volunteers. Today we say thank you for the time and energy that you give to our community,” said Coun. Rudy Storteboom.
“One hundred and fifty years ago, Canada was confederated by volunteers. Sixty-two years ago, our City was incorporated by volunteers. Today, volunteers in the City of Langley continue to distinguish themselves by responding to needs and contributing to solutions that benefit us all in these changing times.”
Keynote speaker Sandy Dunkley, an avid volunteer in Langley, reminded those in attendance that “it’s never too late to volunteer for something.”
She first became involved in the community after her son, Ron Dunkley, was killed in a train accident in 2011.
She says she felt a calling from God to volunteer, so she picked up a copy of the Langley Times, and flipped through until she saw an ad from the City of Langley looking for committee volunteers.
She applied to every single committee, and two weeks later was selected to serve with the group for recreation, culture and parks.
Before she knew it, Dunkley was running her very own non-profit, The Ron Dunkley Memorial Society, as well as a talent agency with 52 acts — and all while volunteering her time with dozens of other groups and events.
“I don’t get paid for anything I do, I do it for free … because if I got paid, it would be a job, and I’ve had lots of good jobs in my life — I worked at Safeway and I had my job in Nashville — I didn’t need anymore jobs. I just wanted to volunteer,” Dunkley said.
“The more I volunteer, the more I love it, the more people I meet, the more I’m helping the community, the more they’re helping me, because they help me be busy and not have to think so much about everything in the past.
“Now I want you to look at your life and just think about all the different things that you are doing. Because I’m telling you right now, if you haven’t attained that dream yet that you think you’ve lost, trust me on this, volunteering is going to help you attain that dream. When you volunteer, you’re using all those abilities, all those things that God gave you. You’ll find the right thing to volunteer in.”