Canada Day is approaching fast and it takes a large amount of volunteers to make the Mission celebration a reality.
Visitors to Fraser River Heritage Park on Monday can enjoy a variety of free activities, music, entertainment and more. While you are there, stop by the information booth and say hello to Marilynne Davis.
Davis is one of the many volunteers that help make this event such a great success. However, her involvement in the Mission community goes back farther and involves more than just Canada Day.
Davis came to Mission, from West Vancouver in 1973 and has lived here for the past 46 years.
“I just love the community. I love the atmosphere of the community. I love the people of Mission,” she said.
But most of all, she loves Fraser River Heritage Park, calling it “the love of my life.”
“The first time I ever came to this park was Canada Day, many, many years ago and I watched them do the citizenship and that really impressed me, how this community would come together in this fantastic venue … I thought I have to be involved. I have to come back here. That’s basically how I got involved with the park.”
Davis became an active member of the Heritage Park Board for years, until the organization was shut down.
Davis said it’s easy to love the park.
“It’s the beauty of the park to start with and of course I’ve seen it open up over the years, when we had the orchard all up there and the rabbits everywhere – there were rabbits everywhere here years ago – now we see maybe one or two.
“And the beauty of the layout of the land and also it’s very, very important to know that we are on Sto:lo land,” she said.
While her devotion to the park is clear, Davis also helps out with a variety of organizations. She has volunteered with Mission Community Services for the past 17 years, runs a tuck shop – a store that sells toiletries, diapers and small food items like peanut butter and jam – at Chartwell Carrington House retirement residence and for the Mission Games Society.
The former medical receptionist retired in 2002, after helping to run clinics with Dr. Baillie.
Never one to sit and do nothing, Davis began to plan for life after work. She decided to re-invent herself because she realized she had to do something.
“I’ve learned the importance of helping others during many, many years of working in the medical field and it just seemed most natural for me to volunteer. My time was mine now.
“I have a core value. I would say that one of the things I keep learning is that the secret of being happy is doing things for other people.”
While she has a long volunteer history at the park and in the community, Monday will only be her fourth year as a Canada day volunteer.
The first year she sold souvenirs but since then she has run the information booth. Davis enjoys helping people, handing out Canadian Flag tattoos to the children, who she says get so excited at the event.
Davis said volunteering is a win-win.
“It’s worthwhile. It’s a good feeling that you get that you are doing something for other people, that you’re not just centred on yourself. It’s more of a sharing thing and people share back with you.”
While she may begin to slow down a tiny bit in the coming years, she doesn’t plan to stop.
“At the age of 77, I hope to be able to volunteer for many more years to come.”