The Township of Langley set aside an evening this week to acknowledge the efforts of the many people who make significant contributions to the community.
The annual Volunteer Appreciation Event was held last night at the Langley Events Centre, where hundreds of guests were treated to dinner, presentations, and entertainment.
“The Township of Langley is an amazing place to live in, and so much of that can be attributed to our dedicated volunteers, the people who are always willing to give their time, talent, and energy to help others and give back,” said Township Mayor Jack Froese.
His cohost for the event, Chelsea Ross, is a Grade 12 student at Langley Fine Arts School, who is majoring in drama and serves on the Township’s Youth Advisory Committee.
Each year, three awards are presented to celebrate an exceptional volunteer, an outstanding student, and a couple who together go above and beyond.
The Eric Flowerdew Volunteer Award is presented annually to a volunteer who promotes an active living lifestyle that enhances residents’ quality of life through creative, cultural, physical, or social pursuits, and enhances Langley’s community spirit.
Flowerdew was a school trustee, municipal councillor, and member of the Langley Hospital Board.
His commitment to volunteerism was unfailing, and in 1974 the Flowerdew family honoured his name with the award.
This year’s recipient is Kirsten Charlesworth. A working mother of two, Charlesworth is dedicated to children’s education and active lifestyles. A volunteer co-ordinator for Langley United Soccer Association, she is also president of RC Garnett Demonstration Elementary School’s Parents Advisory Council and was instrumental in organizing and overseeing the installation of the new RC Garnett playground addition.
She was also a member of the School District’s PAC executive for three years.
Charlesworth, who helps keep streets, waterways, and parks free from litter during Clean Up Langley Day, was a member of Langley Township’s Recreation, Culture, and Parks Advisory Committee for six years and an organizer of the annual Langley Walk, including the event’s 50th anniversary celebration.
Other nominees were Mary Renvall, Maureen LePage and Pat Anderson.
The Pete Swensson Outstanding Community Youth Award is given to a Langley student in Grade 11 or 12 from one of the area’s secondary schools, in recognition of his or her athletic, scholastic, and community efforts.
Personal qualities such as leadership, work ethic, and initiative play a major role in the evaluation process.
This year’s recipient is William Karpan. For more on Karpan and the other eight nominees, pick up next Wednesday’s issue of the Langley Times.
The John and Muriel Arnason Award honours two people who are advocates of literacy, culture, and learning, and volunteer together as a team to make the Township of Langley a better place.
The award was created in memory of Muriel Arnason, the first woman to be elected to Township Council, and her husband, John.
Muriel, who was made Freewoman of the Township in 2006, served on Council for 26 years, and was fully supported by her husband in her political pursuits, as well as in her initiatives to foster the arts, education, and literacy.
Recipients of the 2015 John and Muriel Arnason Award are Candace and Dave Johnson.
Helping those who have served our country and reaching out to seniors through friendship and food is a passion for Dave and Candace Johnson of Aldergrove, a husband and wife team who are members of the Aldergrove Vets and Seniors Society and the Ladies Auxiliary of the Royal Canadian Legion’s Aldergrove Branch.
Candace is the secretary at the Aldergrove Vets and Seniors Society, and while rules prohibit two family members from serving together on the executive, Dave is equally active as a volunteer and the group’s maintenance man.
The recipients of the Flowerdew and Arnason Awards each receive a $750 monetary award to contribute to a recognized charity or society of their choice, and the Swensson Award winner receives a $750 scholarship.