For an Aldergrove man who has donated nearly a decade to serving others in the community – to the extent of even giving his own kidney – there are few words good enough for a goodbye.
Most know him as the face of Aldergrove non-profit Acts of Kindness (AOK), which has renovated homes and subsequently, changed the lives of local families ever since 1996.
His name is Mike, but he goes by Pastor Dauncey. Generally, he’s toting around a camera, and asking all the questions.
Saturday at 11 a.m. Dauncey will preach his last service as media and outreach pastor at Aldergrove’s Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) Church in the Valley, at 23589 Old Yale Rd.
Dauncey arrived on scene as an AOK pastor close to a decade ago, in May 2010.
By summer 2011 he was leading the charge on the Grochowski family Extreme Home Repair project. The Aldergrove family – who recently fell upon hard times – got their two-storey home renovated in eight days by a team of AOK volunteers and nearly $100,000 in donated materials.
Recently, Dauncey sifted through old footage of the Grochowski home reveal on which he recorded with a camcorder on mini DV cassette tapes.
“Looking through those memories… there is one point where the family is gathered in the kitchen crying on each other, wiping each other’s tears,” Dauncey retold.
After playing back memories he’s realized that ten years of helping change people’s lives has changed him for the better.
“Seeing the gratitude in people’s faces when they receive a gift from us with no strings attached, has been life changing… It’s made me more giving, and made me realize just how much need there is in the community.”
Dauncey grew up as a young creative in Cloverdale.
“I was always involved in construction growing up because my dad worked in the field and would bring me along,” he said, which made the transition to AOK initiative work including Extreme Home Repair nearly seamless.
Up until 2009, he and his wife Marcella and three children Megan, Nathan, and Noah moved to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho as Dauncey worked in the city’s SDA church.
From 2001 to 2005, Dauncey served as the chaplain of the Fraser Valley Adventist Academy, an independent SDA school located in Aldergrove.
Future in filmmaking
Working for the church and AOK has pushed Dauncey further in pursuits of filmmaking.
At the age of 16, Dauncey recalls utter bewilderment after purchasing his first video camera with the help of his parents. It was $2,000.
“Ever since, I’ve always had a love for film and video,” he said, mentioning the strides he’s made in the craft since managing AOK media distribution and outreach.
Had the pastor not been afforded video editing software and encouraged from the church to better learn, Dauncey said he would not be where he is today – taking over as the creative director for a popular religious TV show in Oshawa, Ontario.
“This church truly equipped me,” Dauncey commented.
It Is Written – Canada, where Dauncey will start work April 1, is a TV program that shares the SDA-Christian lifestyle through news, storytelling, and theological segments.
But the move is becoming bittersweet, the pastor admits.
“We’ve made so many close friends along the way,” he said, including families he’s watched receive the home of their dreams and friends from church.
“I am sad to leave wonderful people who have become like family,” he said.
For one of those friends, Abbotsford’s June Ancheta, Dauncey stepped up to give his kidney in January 2018. This, after finding out he could give him a second chance at life; being a donor match.
“It was nice to keep June alive,” Dauncey told the Aldergrove Star.
If the transplant did not occur, June would have been on round-the-clock dialysis for the rest of his life, amounting to three hospital trips per week for the procedure.
And kidney disease had severely limited June’s ability to work or travel.
Dauncey said that this year was one of June’s first trips back to visit his parents and relatives in the Philippines, with his wife and children in tow.
“He’s doing well,” Dauncey beamed. Next time, Dauncey hopes to travel with June and meet the rest of his clan.
“It all goes back to what God said,” Dauncey said about giving his kidney.
“That’s the inspiration. Jesus, when he was on this earth, taught us to live for others, to give. That was what his whole message was: to give to others.”
Dauncey referred to Matthew 7:12: “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them.”
Before applying for a position at It Is Written, the TV show reached out to the pastor last March, asking to film a segment on the gift of life he gave to his friend June.
“I had no idea almost a year later I would be working for them,” Dauncey expounded, “It’s kind of funny.”
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Aldergrove keen to contribute
Every year, upwards of 100 people from the broader Aldergrove community assist AOK with Extreme Home Repair, Dauncey said.
“Aldergrove is a special place in that way because people have big hearts, they’re willing to give.”
The pastor noted it wasn’t just church members who volunteered to help rebuild homes and lives, it was the rest of the community as well – in the form of labour, building supplies, and donations.
“I’m grateful for what we’ve done over the years, together,” he finished.