The South Klondike Highway in the Yukon, site of the Klondike Road Relay. (Marissa Tiel)

Editorial: Volunteers are the lifeblood of communities

The last time I pulled an all-nighter, I was in school, putting the finishing touches on some assignment or another. I swore that when I graduated, there would be no more all-nighters. That all changed this fall when I stayed up all night at the B.C./Yukon border to volunteer during a road running relay race between Skagway, Alaska and Whitehorse, Yukon.

This year was the summer of races for me. Training for a half Ironman, I had a lot of race experience to pack in to a relatively short summer season. It was a summer of firsts: first half marathon, first gran fondo, first snowed out cycling race, first open-water swim. During all those races, I depended on the volunteers manning the courses, the people handing out gels and water and bananas, the ones with unflagging optimism as sweaty racers grunted past.

So when my race season wrapped up, I signed up for the next race as a volunteer.

Checkpoint 6 of the Klondike Road Relay was staffed by a small but committed group of volunteers. When we showed up at the gravel lot in front of the “Entering Yukon” sign, the area was sparse, but in just a few hours, we transformed it into a busy checkpoint, complete with Christmas lights and port-a-potties.

The action got started around 1 a.m. and slowed down right around when the sun came up. Those hours went by in a blur. We saw 164 runners come in to the checkpoint and tag off their teammate to start the most lonely section of the relay in the dark.

I went into the night fully accepting that I would not get any sleep and that racers would be focusing on their runs, not acknowledging volunteers. But the handful of runners who did take the time to say thanks for volunteering before vaulting off into the cold Yukon night recharged my batteries.

So many of the activities and events we take part in are run on volunteer hours. Without people giving up their days, nights, weekends some of our favourite things just wouldn’t happen.

That’s why it’s so important to have events like the Spirit of Revelstoke awards, where we can recognize the faces making a difference in our community.

Twenty-nine volunteers were recognized last week and you can read more about them on page 7 and online.

They represent a much larger faction in our community, the lifeblood that keep events and activities going.

The next time you see a volunteer, thank them. And consider offering a bit of your time up as well.


 

@marissatiel
marissa.tiel@revelstokereview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Y2Y report warns of growing tension between industry and environment in Revelstoke

It includes 18 recommendations for land use, tourism, forestry, climate change and First Nations.

Healing with honesty: Justice served 40 years later

Revelstoke senior gets house arrest for sexually assaulting stepdaughter

UPDATE: Trans-Canada Highway closure extended until 4 p.m. east of Revelstoke

The highway was closed after a head-on collision between trucks early Dec. 6

Avalanche control west of Revelstoke today

Highway 1 to be closed for two hours

VIDEO: SNL skewers Trudeau’s mockery of Trump in high school cafeteria sketch

The three world leaders won’t let Trump sit at the cool kids’ table

West Kelowna house fire demonstrates danger posed by candles

West Kelowna Fire Rescue says an unattended candle caused the Sunday afternoon fire.

B.C. universities post $340 million worth of surpluses thanks to international student tuition

Students call for spending as international enrolment produces huge surpluses at many universities

Conservatives urge Morneau to deliver ‘urgent’ fall economic update

Morneau says the first thing the Liberals plan to do is bring in their promised tax cut for the middle class

INFOGRAPHIC: How much money did your local university or college make last year?

B.C. university and colleges posted a combined $340 million surplus in 2018/19

B.C. creates $8.5M organization to improve safety for health care workers

Group will bring together unions, province, health care organizations

Kovrig clings to humour as ‘two Michaels’ near one year in Chinese prison

Their detention is widely viewed as retaliation for Canada’s arrest of Chinese high-tech scion Meng Wanzhou

Slippery sections reported on Okanagan and Shuswap highways

Some sections of the Trans-Canada highway have black ice on them.

Most Read