CAPTION: Speaker Sandy Dunkley and Langley City Mayor Ted Schaffer kibitzed during the volunteer recognition dinner Thursday.
Sandy Dunkley is a born storyteller, whether she’s doing so with poetry, songs, or impromptu speeches.
She’s also a high-energy, enthusiastic woman who has a “remarkable passion” for people and serving her community.
With a list of accomplishments a “mile long,” Dunkley shares her years of experience and her insatiable thirst for life. She was invited to talk about her life, her career, her family, and most importantly about her volunteer endeavours and all that volunteerism had done to change the course of her life.
“She lights up the room, said Langley City Mayor Ted Schaffer. But, if he had a vaudeville hook, he would have used it to pull Dunkley off the stage at the Langley City annual volunteer appreciation banquet.
It wasn’t because he didn’t love all the vignettes she was sharing from the podium. It was because she was limited to 15 minutes, and the loquacious Dunkley was pushing past the 25-minute mark.
Schaffer was monitoring his watch, realizing the recognition festivities were going well into overtime. So, he finally joined her on stage, and with a chuckle and hug, presented what he called one of the City’s star volunteers with a token gift and a friendly nudge off the stage.
“Volunteerism is what it’s all about,” the mayor said before a crowd of about 160 in the Coast Hotel and Convention Centre ballroom Thursday night.
“Everyone of you in this room is very, very special…” he said, insistent it’s personalities that make Langley City such a “incredible” place to be.
But looking over and winking at his friend Dunkley, as she returned to her seat, he added “it’s just that some have a more heaping personality than others.”
Dunkley presented her personal and inspiring story of volunteerism, and all that its done to change her life – especially after the tragic death of one of her sons, Ron, in 2011.
She is convinced God has a purpose for everyone, and her purpose became crystal clear then. She devoted herself to others.
So, after more than a decade of working and playing in Nashville with her husband of 49 years, Gene, she packed up her bags and returned home to Langley, where she immersed herself in the community – taking on countless volunteer duties in a wide range of arenas.
“I look around the room and say good heaven, anyone of you could be up here, because you’re all volunteers, and you have that volunteer heart,” Dunkley said.
“We all have that heart that cares, and shares, and gives, and loves and just wants to do and help others. That’s what we do. That’s why we’re called volunteers.”
In addition to Dunkley commenting on the value of volunteers to this community, several politicians took their turn praising the individuals and organizations represented in the room that night – as well as all the others folks that give, those who were not present.
“Volunteerism is a labour of love, and the results can be truly inspirational,” Schaffer said, thanking not only Dunkley, but every volunteer who gives of their time.
“I hope you know how much each and every one of you are valued,” he said.
Cloverdale-Langley City MP John Aldag said: “I appreciate the heart that you put into the community.”
Langley MLA Mary Polak has always been impressed by the integrity of volunteers.
“At its heart, you do these things not because anyone else is going to know,” but because they know it’s right and because they care.
“You’re the engine that makes the City of Langley run,” Polak said.
Councillor Paul Albrecht said some volunteers don’t believe they do enough, but he disagreed.
“Your acts of kindness might be small, but your community contribution is huge.”
Coun. Jack Arnold thanked all the “busy” people.
“If you want something done, they get it done,” he said.
Coun. Nathan Pachal described the City as a happier place because of the “hard work” of so many committed volunteers.
Coun. Gayle Martin echoed Albrecht’s sentiments about teamwork in volunteerism.
“Alone, we can do so little. But together, we can do so much,” she said, thanking a long list of community groups and organizations.
“We appreciate you very much for all you do.”
Coun. Val van den Broek described volunteerism as the ultimate exercise in democracy, saying volunteers vote everyday – through their efforts – demonstrating through action what kind of community they want to live in.
Coun. Rudy Storteboom added that 150 years ago, Canada was confederated by volunteers and 62 years ago the City was incorporated by volunteers.
“Today, volunteers in Langley City continue to distinguish themselves by responding to needs and contributing to solutions that benefit us all, in these changing times… Thank you for investing yourself into our city. Thank you for filling in the gaps; that no local government can do alone. Thank you for choosing to participate in our committees, service groups and charities. Langley City has the best volunteers.”
STORY CONTINUES BELOW
CAPTION: Young fiddlers from the Langley Community Music School preformed briefly at the Langley City volunteer recognition dinner.
THANKS TO ALL WHO GIVE
Special acknowledgement was given Thursday night for the following organizations, groups, and committees, a few representatives from each asked to stand up and accept applause for all on behalf of the Langley City mayor and council.
• Parks, recreation & environment advisory committee
• Magic of Christmas Parade committee
• Tri-It Triathlon committee
Michael & Christine Hylands
• Terry Fox Run committee
• Langley Lawn Bowling Club
• Advisory Planning Commission
Corporal Steve McKeddie
• Youth advisory committee
• Board of Variance
Rae Anne Maj
• Community Day committee
• Langley City Parks Foundation
Community health and support groups
• Canadian Blood Services
• Fibromyalgia Well Spring Foundation
• Langley Association for Community Living
• Langley Lodge/Langley Care Society
• Langley Child Development Centre
Duncan & Haleh Magnus
• Langley Community Services Society
• Langley Food Bank
• Langley Hospice Society
• Langley Pos-Abilities Society
Judy Vander Horst
• Langley Seniors Community Action Table
• Sources Langley Food Bank
• Langley Memorial Hospital Foundation
• Langley Memorial Hospital Auxiliary
Community service groups and clubs
• Bard in the Valley
• Big Brothers Big Sisters of Langley
• Douglas Park Community School Society
• Elks Lodge No. 259
• Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce
• Kinsmen Club of Langley
• Langley Boys and Girls Club
• Langley Christmas Bureau
• Langley Lions Club
• Langley Meals on Wheels
• Langley Senior Resources Society
• Rotary Club of Langley Central
• Rotary Club of Aldergrove
• Rotary Club of Langley
• Salvation Army Gateway of Hope
• Soroptimist International of the Langleys
• You’ve Gotta Have Friends
Community committees and groups
• CP Rail community advisory panel
• Downtown Langley ambassadors program
Kerry and Lisa Herperger
• Downtown Langley Business Association
• Friends of Langley Library
• Friends of Sendall Gardens
• Langley Arts Council
• Langley Community Farmers Market
• Langley Field Naturalists Society
Ian and Joan Taylor
• Langley School District Foundation
• Point of Pride
Ross & Del Dewar
• Tourism Langley
• Public safety advisory committee
RCMP Insp. Shawn Boudreau
RCMP Sgt. Dave Selvage
• Public safety task group
• Langley emergency program
• Langley RCMP volunteer programs