Ed Sumner has been named Whitehorse’s 2012 Volunteer of the Year.
Sumner, 76, is the longest-serving member of the Grey Mountain Lions Club. He joined in 1980, after a friend invited him to go to a meeting. He thought the service club sounded like a good thing to be involved in, so he stayed, he said. Since then, he’s served several terms as the club’s vice-president and president. He has also been a member of the Yukon Order of Pioneers Society for over a decade.
A former building contractor, Sumner began his volunteer work in Whitehorse because his sons played softball. He was a president and coach for Whitehorse Minor Softball in the 1970s. He’s been involved in different sports associations, including as president of the Takhini Recreation Centre & Curling Club, member of the Yukon Dog Mushers Executive and treasurer of the Yukon Curling Association.
“I always found the time and enjoyed what I was doing,” he said.
Many of his fondest volunteer memories involve children. As a member of the Lions Club, he’s travelled with kids to Vancouver, B.C. so they could attend the B.C. Easter Seals Camp in Squamish. The camp is designed for kids with various disabilities.
“It’s been a rewarding thing to see kids go out to camps and enjoy themselves,” he said.
This past summer, he hosted over 20 international students. He took them to the Girl Guides’ Sprucewind camp and on bicycle and canoe trips. The first student to arrive was a Polish boy, who has written Sumner many letters since.
“These are things you remember,” said Sumner.
There were 24 nominees for the award. In true volunteer spirit, Sumner didn’t attend Wednesday’s reception at the Westmark. He wasn’t feeling well, and didn’t want to get others sick, he said. Instead, members of the Lions club dropped off the award, a plaque and clock, for him.