Toots Tucker had to take a break from her volunteer duties at the concession stand of the Langley City Terry Fox Run on Sunday to be recognized for her endless contributions to both the fundraising run and her community.
The 84-year-old Langley City woman was the first person to be crowned Langley City’s volunteer of the year and given the inaugural Dave Hall volunteer award ahead of the morning’s walk/run.
Hall, a late Langley City councillor and community volunteer was a “staunch” supporter of the local Terry Fox Run. He passed away of cancer at the beginning of 2016.
Creation of an award bearing his name was announced at last year’s Terry Fox Run. The award is intent to recognize an exemplary City volunteer each year, said Marg McGuire-Grout, chair of the run’s organizing committee for the past three years.
Hall’s wife, Ellen, and daughter, Amanda, were on hand this year to present the first every award to Tucker.
The humble recipient offered up to dignitaries and fellow volunteers on stage, then briefly thanked the crowd, describing the accolades as a shock, feeling there are many more worthy of the honour.
She learned she was being given the award a few weeks back, but was insistent the presentation not interfere too much with her volunteer duties at this year’s run.
Tucker has been a Langley resident since 1953, when the City was known as Langley Prairie, explained McGuire-Grout.
“Sadly, her husband suffered a massive stroke in 1983, and she spent many years as his caregiver until his passing.”
Since then, Tucker become a consummate community volunteer, helping out with least a dozen non-profits – including the Terry Fox Run, McGuire-Grout said.
She’s been volunteering with the cause for eight, nine, maybe 10 years, Tucker told the Langley Advance.
“I don’t really count. I just come…” she said.
“I just love helping and Terry Fox is a wonderful institution to help with [people with] cancer, and helping lots of people who need help desperately. So, we’re here for love and support,” Tucker said.
She’s also volunteers with the Langley Lodge, the seniors centre, the cancer society, Langley Centennial Museum, the heritage society, garden club, field naturalists, and her church.
“I don’t stay home very much,” she said with a chuckle. “Let’s just say I don’t like housework.”
So what keeps her so involved, Tucker said it’s the people.
“Langley really is the place to be,” she said. “We’re with the nicest people in the world, and what little bit I can contribute, I’m here. It’s a wonderful way to live.”
Donations still coming in
Speaking of volunteers, McGuire-Grout credited a team of 51 “great volunteers” with making the City’s Terry Fox Run “another successful year.
The run and walk, which started and ended at Douglas Park, saw 228 participants this year.
That’s slightly down from last year, explained McGuire-Grout.
“But we raised in total $13,181 today, which is $2,000 more than last year,” she said. “Needless to say, I’m ecstatic. This number will likely grow still, as online donations continue to come in.”
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