Myrtle Servatius, known as “Myrt” to her many friends, is not about to let a pandemic slow down her duty to members of the Kootenay South Métis Society, an organization she has faithfully led for several years.
Since COVID-19 first hit the Trail area over one year ago, Myrt has piled into her big green van, too many times to count, to deliver assistance to Kootenay South Métis members. Whether it be gloves, sanitizer, gift cards to local grocery stores, a lift to an appointment, or anything else the person may need, Myrt hand delivers with a smile, which of course, is hidden behind her face mask.
Showing appreciation on behalf of the Kootenay South Métis people, members have nominated Myrt to be recognized by governing body Métis Nation BC (Nation) for her dedication and ongoing volunteerism.
“Myrt has been volunteering for as long as I can remember,” the nominator writes. “She is always hosting events [pre-pandemic] such as dinner, children’s jigging classes, beading classes, cooking classes with bannock, and cleaning our highways. All these things take a ton of dedication and a big heart which is why I nominate Myrt; she most definitely deserves it.”
Métis Nation British Columbia extends its sincere gratitude for the contributions community volunteers have made this past year, the Nation wrote in a Facebook post.
“Though we cannot gather, vital programs and services continue to be offered through the efforts of these volunteers around the province.”
Work happening at the community level brings to mind Leah Dorion’s traditional Métis story, The Giving Tree.
In this story, Métis families leave supplies in the tree’s cache for others in need. Similarly, today, Metis communities are a “Giving Tree;” a hub for citizens to connect and access programs and resources.
“This past year we have heard of volunteers who have handed out PPE, organized grocery supports and hampers, spent numerous hours making Elder calls, and even driving other citizens to appointments. None of these supports would have been accessible without the support from volunteers.”
Métis people living in B.C. have been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Nation states. Many have lost their jobs and cannot afford the necessities of life such as rent, utilities, and groceries. Thus, the organization has prioritized accessing multiple rounds of funding for its citizens.
Because of community relationships fostered by the work of volunteers, the Nation has supported thousands of Métis citizens who are struggling due to the pandemic.
To recognize the volunteers who ensured COVID-19 supports reached the hands of over 3,000 community members and counting, the Nation asked each of the 38 chartered communities to nominate a volunteer from their community.
Heartwarming nominations came from boards, community members, co-workers, grandchildren, and friends.
Each nominee will be gifted with an honorary sash.