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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Revelstoke SAR crews help find woman’s body around Kaslo River

The woman was on a motorcycle when it plunged into the river on June 21

RCMP identify dangerous driver from near head-on collision by Golden

Police say the extremely dangerous and illegal maneuver put multiple lives at risk

Hitchhiker with metal pipe prompts RCMP to close of Highway 1 near Salmon Arm

Police respond to report of man who pointed what was believed to be a rifle at passing driver

Local Food Initiative wants public feedback for possible Garden Tour

Survey suggests some people are concerned about the RCMP, after last year’s tour

MP Morrison pushes for accountability following federal fiscal update

Kootenay-Columbia parliamentarian says it is time to restart the economy

Recent surge in COVID-19 cases not unexpected amid Phase Three of reopening: B.C.’s top doc

Keep circles small, wear masks and be aware of symptoms, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. NDP changing WorkSafeBC regulations to respond to COVID-19

Employers say reclassifying coronavirus could be ‘ruinous’

Oliver Town Hall reopens to public as COVID-19 test comes back negative

Town Hall was closed briefly as a staff member showed multiple COVID-19 symptoms

Lake Country beachgoers reminded to maintain distance amid COVID-19

Signage, park rangers, park patrol students in place to monitor busy beaches in Central Okanagan

RCMP to investigate hate-motivated vandalism in Summerland

Swastikas and other graffiti spray painted on house and at bandshell

Statistical flaws led to B.C. wolf cull which didn’t save endangered caribou as estimated

Study finds statistical flaws in an influential 2019 report supporting a wolf cull

Baby raccoon rescued from 10-foot deep drainage pipe on Vancouver Island

‘Its cries were loud, pitiful and heartbreaking,’ Saanich animal control officer says

Vancouver Island RCMP respond to reports of man masturbating on bus

52-year-old man charged with committing an indecent act in a public place

B.C. man who went by ‘Doctor Ray Gaglardi’ charged with sex assault of teenage boys

The man, 75, is accused of assaulting teenage boys he met through Coquitlam-area churches

Most Read