Sooke Volunteer Award recipient Marlene Barry, left, with Mayor Maja Tait during the Sooke District Volunteer Awards ceremony. In the background, Councillors Kevin Pearson and Kerrie Reay. (Octavian Lacatusu/Sooke News Mirror)

Sooke volunteers recognized at district awards ceremony

Sooke’s biggest and most dedicated volunteers were given some much-deserved recognition.

Sooke’s biggest volunteers received some hard-earned recognition on Tuesday night at the Sooke District Volunteer award ceremony.

More than two dozen volunteers were nominated, many of whom are already involved in a number of other volunteer efforts throughout the Sooke community.

“We’re very proud to recognize everyone here today in advance for Canada’s national volunteer week,” Mayor Maja Tait told all the volunteers in the council chamber. “We would like to honour you and to celebrate all that you’ve done, we appreciate your leadership and all the influence that you’ve had in inspiring others.”

Among the nominees was Marlene Barry, a long-time Sooke volunteer whose hand stretched in virtually every volunteer effort group in town, from the Sooke Region Volunteer Centre, the Integrated Health Network and the Accessibility Challenge.

“It was nice to see the District of Sooke recognize the people who don’t live in Sooke, but contribute to the overall wellness of the whole region,” said Barry, one of several Otter Point residents and volunteers present that night.

Another nominee, Sid Jorna, was recognized for his work with local groups to bring awareness to the region’s natural wonders through hikes and excursions, as well as serving as the driving force behind the local refugee sposorship group.

“I didn’t really expect it, so I am very pleased that someone nominated me, and it was a nice to be recognized,” Jorna said.

On another end of the volunteer table was Rotarian Neil Flynn, who was recognized for his involvement with numerous building projects around town, such as the school gardens at John Muir Elementary, and spearheading the Rotary auction as well as several other local events in Sooke.

“He’s the first to say, how can I help,” Tait said, followed by applause from the room.

And last but not least, Heather Phillips, whose involvement with the Holy Trinity Community Church, several school PACs, as well as part of nearly a dozen other committees proved an unhindered volunteer spirit.

The awards ceremony is held once every council term.