For Randy Driediger, the hardest thing about volunteering is finding the time for all his various roles.
“It’s getting tough to find the time to do everything,” he told me at his office at RCU Insurance last week. “As much as you want to do great things at everything, the thinner you spread yourself, the less ability you have to give it what you think it deserves.”
When I met with Driediger for a National Volunteer Week article, he thankfully had just prepared a list of his volunteer positions. The list included seven active roles on volunteer boards, plus a few old ones.
“I can’t say no to people,” he said. “This year, for the first time I can remember, I actually have said no to coaching minor soccer, although they’re asking me to re-consider and I am re-considering.”
Driediger’s first volunteer role was coaching a minor soccer team while he was a varsity player with Okanagan College in 1977. He was 17 at the time, but it isn’t the spark that led him to his current level of volunteerism.
That came in the 1990s, when he returned to Revelstoke after living in Calgary, and he was asked to join the Lion’s Club by his friend Buddy Rozander. In 1998 he was invited to join the Revelstoke Rotary Club.
“That’s when I really started feeling I liked volunteering and giving back to the community,” he said. “I really enjoyed the feeling of seeing the appreciation from the recipient of somebody you volunteer for.”
Why does Driediger volunteer so much of his time? Here’s what he said about a few of his roles:
Revelstoke Fire Rescue Society
Driediger joined the society in 2002 and now serves as its president. They are currently working on a firefighter museum expansion, hope to receive a new rescue truck this year and are aiming to host the Fire Bells and Fanfares Festival in 2017. He said if he could go back in time, he’d consider a career as a firefighter instead of working in insurance.
“I can’t think of a better way of giving back to not only the community but to mankind in general but by providing that service to somebody else. Not to be the hero of saving someone from a burning building, or the accolades, it’s more the fact of knowing I have the ability to help somebody.”
Revelstoke Chamber of Commerce
Driediger joined the board in order to fill a year-long vacancy a few years ago. Now he is the president of the organization.
“I didn’t realize until I actually got on the Chamber board what an important role it plays in the business community,” he said. “I didn’t realize it does all the lobbying, not only in the community but also on the provincial level on behalf of the business owners — small business owners in particular.”
He stayed on as president this year in order to work with the new council.
Revelstoke Men’s Soccer Association and Revelstoke Youth Soccer Association
In 1991, Driediger and his friend Paul Zizka founded the Big Bear Soccer Tournament, which has been ongoing ever since. He has also coached minor soccer, starting with his daughter’s team.
“That’s not only volunteering, that’s also spending time and trying to help your own child,” he said. “That is a great experience, to have the opportunity to work with children, especially if you have the ability to hopefully train their’s.”
Revelstoke Trees for Tots
Driediger was asked to join the board by Larry Parsons. “Because it’s to do with children, which I have a weakness for, how could you say no,” he said. He eventually became president of the organization, but has stepped back a bit into the vice-president’s role.
On top of those five roles, Driediger is also the secretary for Revelstoke Men’s Hockey and a director with the Revelstoke Senior Citizen’s Housing Society. Before joining the chamber, he was a director of the Revelstoke Community Foundation.
How does he find the time? “I’m blessed with a great employer that allows me the flexibility to come and go as I need,” he said. “The only expectation is I do my job.”
He also makes the point that he only gives his time and abilities, not money. “This community is important to me and if I can, in any small way with the abilities I have, help others in the community, I look forward to doing that.”