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VIDEO: Expressing gratitude – giving thanks for volunteers

Langley City hosts appreciation banquet for 180+ community givers

Volunteers are the heart of any community, and Langley City is no exception.

From keeping the one-way clean, to supporting and helping out at community events like Arts Alive, Terry Fox Run, and Community Day, or from feeding and sheltering those in need, to sitting on advisory committees to help shape the future of the City, volunteers are the driving force of the Langley community.

Close to 180 of them – representing around 70 local community groups, boards, and committees – gathered last week in the Coast Hotel ballroom to be entertained, fed, and most importantly applauded and thanked for all they do.

It was the return of Langley City’s annual volunteer appreciation banquet under the direction of City Mayor Nathan Pachal – with each member of council taking a turn at thanking various volunteers present – and the organizations they represent – for the tireless dedication they gift this community.

“I’m honoured to be here with you – the volunteers of our community – who mutually make Langley City the place to be,” said Pachal. “This evening is about you, the volunteers. We are here to honour you…”

MLA Andrew Mercier wasn’t present, but shared a message of thanks from Victoria. “I am consistently inspired by the dedication and commitment to community held by Langley’s volunteers…” he said.

“Thank you to everyone for the work that you do for our community, to help make Langley City such a special place.”

Similar sentiments were echoed by Kyle Latchford, on behalf of MP John Aldag who was in Ottawa.

“I’m pleased to extend my warmest congratulations to everyone… volunteers are the heart of a strong, resilient community. They are ordinary people who every day accomplish extraordinary things that help bring humanity to our community,” Latchford said.

“Congratulations to everyone being honoured today for your valuable contributions. Thank you. Your time, even if unseen, is so deeply appreciated. Frankly, our community could not grow without you.”

Before asking various volunteers in the room to stand and be acknowledged by their peers and special guests, each of the councillors shared their appreciation to the volunteers.

Coun. Rosemary Wallace asked how the community could live without volunteers. “Giving of themselves, helping others, caring for creatures great and small. Passionate about protecting the planet, waterways, sacred lands and skies. Spreading joy and creativity with song, dance, art, and more. Volunteers live to give, and receive so much in return in creating change and holding space and making a difference in the lives of so many. We are so grateful for all of you and what you do.”

Coun. Paul Albrecht expressed his “sincere gratitude” for the hard work and dedication that volunteers put into making the community a better place.

“Your selflessness and acts of kindness and generosity cannot go unnoticed. And I want you to know how much your efforts are appreciated – each and every one of you. From volunteering at local events and organizations to helping those in need, your contributions have significantly impacted on our community. You inspire us to do better and be better, and do more. And, for that, were are truly grateful. Thank you for your unwavering commitment to making a more vibrant, welcoming, compassionate place. Your efforts are immeasurable,” he said.

Coun. Delaney Mack noted being new to council and new to the appreciation event.

“I would like to express my appreciation for the great work you do,” she shared.

Also new on council, but not new to the volunteer event, was Coun. Leith White who expressed “honour and gratitude” to the people in the community who give so much time and energy to help make a difference.

“We each live in the same 24-hour clock. What each of us do in those 24 hours says something about what we value, our passions, our future hopes and dreams, and is the ultimate test of what is important to us, what we’re committed to, and what is meaningful to us. It’s very humbling to be in a room filled with people such as yourselves, who give so freely… Personally, and on behalf of the City of Langley, simply – thank you!”

Teri James noted this was her 15th appreciation banquet as a City councillor, and she noted that looking around the ballroom she recognized many familiar faces of volunteers who have given year in and year out.

But what had her excited was the realization that she saw just as many new faces in the room – people she didn’t yet know, who represented new blood in the Langley volunteer pool. She noted that just a few years ago, a conversation raised at one of these appreciation dinners, concerned the large numbers of volunteers aging out. Worries were expressed then about how to replace their contributions.

“It is so heartening to see so many people still vested in this community, with the things that you do so we can do the things we do, so that this community continues to operate. Because, honestly, without volunteers no community can continue to operate. From the bottom of my heart… thank you for absolutely everything you do in this community,” James said.

Also new to council and the appreciation event was Mike Solyom, who acknowledged he never realized the scope of volunteerism in the community until preparing for the evening’s event.

“I only have a small appreciation of the work you do holding up the social infrastructure in the City and Township,” Solyom said. “It really opened my eyes to the impressive work you do.”

The night was all about acknowledging and thanking what Mayor Pachal called “tremendous volunteers who serve the Langley community… From the bottom of my heart, and as Coun. Solyom said, you really are the social fabric – the glue – that holds our community together. So thank you very much for your service.”

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RELATED: Langley seniors centre seeks compassionate volunteers

LAST YEAR’S TOWNSHIP AWARDS WITH VIDEOS: Langley volunteers extraordinaire lauded

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Roxanne Hooper

About the Author: Roxanne Hooper

I began in the news industry at age 15, but honestly, I knew I wanted to be a community journalist even before that.
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