Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Volunteers are not paid – not because they are worthless, but because they are priceless. Unknown

Yesterday we went to a celebration of life service (funeral) for someone we don’t know very well. Everything that was said about him was what we knew him to be. He was quirky, geeky, and completely genuine. The Pastor said he would be tending the garden at the church during the church service.

He loved adventure and when his boys joined Boy Scouts so did he. It took him eight years after meeting his wife to ask her out. He supported her in her dreams and accomplishments.

Some people look like they enjoy life on a different level. He seemed to be one of those people. His smile was full of joy. He was the recipient of the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers (SMV) which is awarded to people who are dedicated and committed volunteers whose volunteer contributions are unpaid, sustained, and significant.

I was thinking of someone at Toastmasters who I could nominate but Toastmasters will not be eligible because volunteer activities that are too closely related to paid employment or done with the primary purpose of promoting one’s paid employment are not eligible. Toastmasters give awards for accomplishments, and we do benefit in our paid work.

The nominee for SMV must have sustained work defined as approximately ten years of volunteer service over the nominee’s lifetime. This can be with one or more organizations spread out over several years. The nominee must have at least one year of service since 2009 for the nomination to be considered. A nominee must contribute to the wider community as a volunteer with the organization and not just be a member of the organization.

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world. Anne Frank

What does not qualify?

Service club membership without evidence of a contribution to the wider community, an example being a longtime member but not volunteering in the wider community.

Blood donations do not qualify.

Financial donations do not qualify.

Caring for a family member does not qualify.

Volunteers are not eligible for the SMV if they have already received an honour in recognition of the same volunteer efforts being considered. Canadian honours policy prohibits the awarding of more than one honour in recognition of the same achievement.

Someone who has received honours for volunteer work in one area can receive the SMV for different volunteer work.

Volunteer work in the community related to high school or other educational requirements does not qualify.

Someone who knew him put his name forward. He didn’t live long enough to receive the award, but his family was able to pick it up for him and have it on display at his funeral. What if that person hadn’t bothered to nominate him?

How many deserving volunteers are not nominated because people don’t know they can nominate someone, or they know but don’t bother?

If we know someone we think should be nominated we must be directly aware of the contributions made by the individual. We must know them well enough to be able to provide their contact information and details of their volunteer work. The nomination must be made while the person is still alive. We cannot nominate ourselves, and if made by a family member must have a supporting reference from a non-family member. Nominees are never told who nominated them. Nominators are asked not to notify the individual about the nomination in order to avoid disappointment if unsuccessful.

The medal is accompanied by a lapel pin for everyday wear and a certificate signed by the governor-general. Do we know someone who should receive this honour? Would we like to conduct our life so we deserve and are eligible for this honour?

Volunteering has many benefits:

Volunteering connects us to others.

Volunteering is good for our minds and our body.

Volunteering can advance our careers.

Volunteering brings fun and fulfillment to our lives.

Do we get out of life what we put into it? When we put more in, will we get more out? Is volunteering part of our life? If it isn’t, should it be?

Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves. James Matthew Barrie

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you will come back and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, joy, and love.

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A Cup of Comfort for a Better World: Stories that celebrate those who give, care, and volunteer by [Sell, Colleen]
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A Cup of Comfort for a Better World: Stories that celebrate those who give, care, and volunteer Kindle Edition

by Colleen Sell (Author)