Two of Mission’s most dedicated volunteers are being recognized by the District of Mission next month.
Ron Leger will be named a Freeman of the City, and Bob Ingram will receive this year’s Citizen of the Year Award.
Both men were surprised by the recognition.
“I was stunned for a week,” said Leger, who received the news from the mayor a couple of weeks ago. “It’s quite overwhelming.”
“It’s the furthest thing from your mind when you get involved (in the community),” said Ingram.
Leger has lived in Mission since 1983 and has been involved in numerous service clubs and committees to improve the community. He took on his biggest challenge five years ago when he began an effort to build a new food bank at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church on Seventh Avenue.
“The award is probably because of the work I’ve done with the food bank building,” said Leger, who works as an accountant in Mission.
Leger has had a desire to help people who are less fortunate than he is since he was a young boy when he and some friends raised money and donated it to nuns who helped look after the poor.
Volunteering wasn’t something he picked up from his parents, or learned from a role model; it was simply a desire, said Leger, who added his inspiration comes from the Bible.
But mostly, Leger says he enjoys working with people, and that’s what will keep him involved in the community.
Ingram also credits his fellow volunteers with helping him achieve the 2014 Citizen of the Year Award.
“I work with great people and any one of them could be the citizen of the year,” he noted.
Ingram worked as the secretary-treasurer for the Burnaby school district before retiring in 2000. He moved with his wife to Mission nine years ago from New Westminster, and his reputation as a volunteer followed him.
Ingram was involved with Mainstream Association for Proactive Living in Burnaby, and when the executive director heard about Ingram’s move, he called his counterparts at Mission Association for Community Living (MACL) and told them about Ingram’s work and encouraged the group to reach out to him.
They did, and Ingram is still involved with MACL today, serving as president.
Ingram is currently involved with 14 organizations and committees in Mission. He is president of the Mission Seniors Centre Association, president of the Mission Community Services Society, and chair of the Mission Seniors Centre Task Force, which is working to establish a seniors’ centre in Mission.
“If I’m going to get involved, I’m going to get involved,” said Ingram. “If people ask for help, I will help them to the best of my ability.”
Ingram says he enjoys meeting people and learning from where they come. One of his strengths, he says, is bringing people together to work towards a goal.
“Believe in yourself, and trust in others,” he said.
The Community Service Awards ceremony will take place Saturday, May 31 at 7 p.m. at the Clarke Theatre.
For a list of Mission’s 2014 Community Service Award recipients, click here, or visit mission.ca.