Volunteers of the year named by Township

An Aldergrove woman behind many of the community’s fairs and parades, and a Glen Valley couple with a yen for taking to the waters of the Fraser River won Langley Township volunteering awards last week.

Karen Long was the 2014 recipient of the Eric Flowerdew Volunteer Award, given annually to recognize dedication to the quality of life and community spirit in Langley.

Cheryl MacIntosh and Glenn Howes took home the John and Muriel Arnason Award, which honours two people who are advocates of literacy, culture, and learning. It is for couples who work together towards the same goals.

Long, MacIntosh, and Howes took home their awards from an event with hundreds at the Langley Events Centre Thursday night. Numerous dedicated volunteers were honoured with dinner and entertainment.

A long-time resident of Aldergrove, Long has spent years dedicated to making a difference in her neighbourhood. In fact, there are very few activities or events that happen in Aldergrove that Long hasn’t contributed to in some way.

For many years, she has served on the executive of the Aldergrove Festival Days Society and the Aldergrove Agricultural Association, organizing fairs and parades to educate and entertain the community. 

A member of the Rotary Club of Aldergrove, she exemplifies the motto “Service Above Self,” helping the group raise money for a women’s shelter, clean up and beautify downtown Aldergrove, raise funds for Langley Centennial Museum student programs, and partner with the Township of Langley Fire Department to install smoke detectors in the Aldergrove Mobile Home Park.

An integral force behind the Aldergrove Christmas Parade, she can be found manning a kettle for the Salvation Army during the holidays. An advocate of Aldergrove Neighbourhood Services’ programs, she is also a huge part of the success of the local Walk for Memories, which has raised almost $100,000 for the Alzheimer Society.

Long is also a long-time member of the Aldergrove Legion who serves as chair of the branch’s internal auditing committee. She helps secure donations for community dinners for families at Thanksgiving, Easter, and Christmas, participates in an annual Terry Fox barbecue fundraiser, and works with the Rotary Club to provide food and gifts for Aldergrove families that are struggling at Christmastime.

On the water and on land MacIntosh and Howes, have contributed to ensure that North Langley is a better and healthier place to live.

For 12 years, the pair has been dedicated to the Fort Langley Canoe Club. 

MacIntosh began as a voyageur paddler then became a leader and coach, encouraging the group to try dragon boat paddling. Interest grew and with MacIntosh chairing the board since 2009, the club grew to more than 500 members. 

That meant more boats, docks, and storage space was needed. Howes became the key person for getting the docks upgraded, leading working groups through planning, design, and physical labour. 

The couple also lends their leadership qualities to local environmental groups. A true team, Howes is the chair of the Glen Valley Watershed Society and MacIntosh was the treasurer. Cheryl has also been secretary, treasurer, and chair of the Derby Reach/Brae Island Parks Association. Howes is one of the association’s most diligent members and turns out in all kinds of weather to pull weeds and conduct tours as part of the association’s goal to promote conservation and education.

Beyond running many meetings, the pair has opened up their home for work parties and lunches for events such as the annual Bird Count. They participate in Rivers Week, the Cranberry Festival, and the annual Brigade Days journey and arrival at the Fort Langley National Historic Site. MacIntosh and Howes help protect the environment by doing everything from planting trees and sampling and analyzing stream water to talking to neighbours about issues, and keep many kilometres of Glen Valley roads clean and collect numerous bags of garbage through the Township’s Adopt-A-Street program.

“We are really fortunate in this community to have so many people willing to volunteer their time to make life better for others,” said Township of Langley Mayor Jack Froese. “This event is a wonderful opportunity to thank those who give so much to Langley. Our community wouldn’t be the same without them.”

Froese presented the awards along with co-emcee Meghan Cheung, a Grade 12 honour student from Brookswood Senior Secondary who has been a member of Langley Township’s Youth Advisory Council since 2011. 

The Eric Flowerdew award is named after the former school trustee, municipal councillor, and Parks and Recreation Commissioner who had an unfailing commitment to volunteerism.

The John and Muriel Arnason award is named for the first woman elected to Langley Township council and her longtime husband and partner in activism John. Arnason served 26 years on the Township council.

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