“You can find a way to give help everywhere.”
That is the belief of Shirley McGonigal, last year’s winner of the Township of Langley’s Eric Flowerdew Volunteer Award, who has learned through experience that what you give comes back to you in many ways.
A former nurse at Langley Memorial Hospital, McGonigal retired more than 20 years ago but continues to care for others, visiting those who are ill, in hospital, or housebound, taking seniors to health care appointments, and supporting the programs and people of the United Churches of Langley.
Her dedication and effort drew the attention of others in the community who nominated McGonigal for the Flowerdew Award, which the Township presents to its volunteer of the year: an individual who enhances Langley’s quality of life and community spirit through creative, cultural, physical, or social pursuits.
“I was almost overwhelmed,” McGonigal said of being named the recipient. “It showed that people did see what I was doing, and I was touched.”
McGonigal keeps the award in her living room and is thrilled to be in the same company as the former winners whose names are inscribed on the trophy. Now 84 years of age, the mother of two continues to volunteer, maintaining she has been blessed in life and wants to spread those blessings on to others.
“Isn’t that what we are here for? There is a need,” she said. “Every morning I get up and I have something to do.”
This spring, volunteers like McGonigal who go above and beyond to help others will be recognized by the Township. The Township’s annual Volunteer Appreciation event will be held on April 2 to salute the many dedicated people who make a difference in the community, and during the evening, an exceptional youth, individual, and couple will be recognized for their contributions.
Members of the public are encouraged to get involved by nominating volunteers who deserve to be in the spotlight, whether they coach their kids in sports, help protect the environment, raise money for important programs, or assist those in need.
Along with the 2019 Eric Flowerdew Volunteer Award, the 2019/2020 Pete Swensson Outstanding Community Youth Award will be presented to a student with exemplary athletic and academic achievements, community involvement, and personal qualities, and the 2019 John and Muriel Arnason Award will go to a pair of individuals who volunteer together to make Langley a better place.
Nomination forms and award criteria are available at tol.ca/awards, and nominations must be received by Monday, Feb. 17. Nominations of Grade 11 or 12 students for the Swensson Award must be put forward by their schools.
Recipients will receive $750 to be presented to a recognized charity or society of their choice, or go towards their education.
For more information, contact Township Special Events coordinator Sarah Regehr at firstname.lastname@example.org or 604-533-6148.