Marilyn Fischer nominated her husband, Jim Simning, for Langley senior of the year for his volunteer efforts in the community but also his steadfast support of her social justice efforts.
“He appreciates what my commitment means to me and supports me in that,” Fischer said.
Langley Seniors Resource Centre, which oversees seniors of the year and chooses one man and one woman annually, decided not one but both members of this married couple should be recognized as Langley seniors of the year for 2018.
“Neither of us are sure what will be expected of us but are happy to have been given the honour of representing the positive aspects of volunteering in retirement,” Simning said.
Fischer, a retired social worker, was co-chair of the Triple A Senior Housing Summit, sat on the Township seniors advisory committee, is involved in the Langley Senior Community Action Table (LSCAT). (The print edition incorrectly said she was a CARP director. We apologize for the erro )
She was instrumental in the Triple A Housing seniors survey and cares about seniors‘ welfare, poverty, housing and health care.
“Marilyn has always been at the forefront as one who could be relied upon to get the job done,” said Evan Brett, with CARP.
He nominated Fischer, who calls herself a late bloomer because she obtained her social work degree at 53.
“I think it’s because I got my degree so late in life. I just don’t feel like I’m done yet. I’m not finished,” the 78-year-old said.
Simning, 81, volunteers at the seniors resource centre – and has done so for seven years now, since the couple took the volunteer training together.
He assists with maintenance and set up.
“I like meeting new people and the friends that I have made and get together with regularly for coffee at the senior centre,” he told the Langley Advance.
He reads to school children at Blacklock Elementary, was involved in efforts to keep the CN train station open to the public, is involved with the Langley Heritage Society, and is a supporter of Marilyn’s efforts.
“Sharing my love of reading with the children at Blacklock is a special time for me.”
Fischer and Simning, who worked in the grocery and warehousing sectors until he retired in 2001, didn’t expect the honour of being chosen.
“I was a little surprised and felt kind of humble,” Simning commented.
It’s rare for the Langley Seniors of the Year to be a married couple.
“I’m more thrilled about the fact of being chosen together,” Fischer said.
Her faith and sense of social justice impel her to reach out to others. Fischer said she feels an obligation to use her knowledge and skills to help people.
“I’m not thinking about what I get out of it, I’m thinking about what the result might be for others,” she said.
After she retired from social work at Royal Columbian Hospital, they moved to Aldergrove and recently relocated into Langley City.
She worked for Langley Memorial Hospital, finally retiring in 2010 and had a consulting business for a few years.
Fischer became interested in seniors housing about the time she and Jim were searching for a home that would allow them to age in place.
“I see so many seniors who are not well and that are struggling physically and financially,” she said.
While neither knows exactly what to expect of their reign, Fischer knows she would like to use the position to spotlight seniors social issues.