While others are focused on receiving their Old Age Security at 65, Anne Hebert began giving something back.
A long time resident of Trail, Hebert launched herself into a career as a volunteer after she retired, dedicating her time to four community organizations, and has continued to do so for almost 20 years.
Now 84, Hebert’s contribution was recently recognized by the province when she received a 2012 B.C. Community Achievement Award, the only person in the Kootenay and Okanagan region to receive one — and part of a 40-person provincial contingent so honoured.
And she earned it. On any given week Hebert performs a multitude of services for others, always willingly and always with a smile. For 18 years she has volunteered at the Salvation Army Family Services (Kate’s Kitchen) and the Food Bank, hosts the birthday parties at the Poplar Ridge Pavilion, and serves as a director of the Trail Branch of the BC Senior Citizens’ Association.
She also helps out the Anglican Church food bank, canvasses for the Heart and Stroke Foundation, mans a Christmas kettle for the Salvation Army and was an Eagle for 35 years, volunteering extensively with their many projects.
“I can’t say, ‘No.’ When people ask me to do something, I can’t say, ‘No,’” Hebert said with a chuckle. “And my health is fairly good so I can do it.”
It’s good to help people out, she said, and she wanted to give something back to the community she arrived in decades ago with her late husband, Wally, from Birch Hills, Sask.
The two raised four daughters in Trail, but after her husband’s health began to fail 34 years ago she took a job at Teck. When Hebert retired 15 years later and her children were grown, she put her efforts into volunteering.
The community achievement awards honour individuals who have made a significant contribution either as a volunteer or in the course of their work. Although she was nominated by Salvation Army Community Service manager Linda Radtke, there was plenty of support from the other organizations Hebert has worked with.
Everyone wanted to write a letter of support for Hebert’s nomination, said Radtke, but she wouldn’t have had enough envelopes to mail all of the letters.
“She’s such a humble person, she does everything behind the scenes and just keeps on serving, never complains,” said Radtke.
Once a week, Hebert makes a pot of her delectable, homemade soup at Kate’s Kitchen, and has been a mainstay of the Salvation Army’s kitchen since it began on Bay Avenue near the Eagles Hall 18 years ago.
When that soup kitchen location was closed it moved over to the basement of the Salvation Army Thrift Store where it continued to operate, despite not having a full kitchen — but Hebert kept on cooking and never complained.
Five years ago they moved into the well-equipped building on Rossland Avenue and Anne’s culinary skills flourished there, cooking for up to 60 people on any given day.
“I thought she was amazing when she first came to work for us, as all of our volunteers are. But Anne just kind of stands out because she never complains,” said Radtke.
“To have somebody so humble get this award is so awesome. I don’t usually do this because each one of my volunteers is special.”
Hebert and other recipients of the 2012 British Columbia Community Achievement Awards will be recognized in a formal presentation at Government House in Victoria on April 25 — receiving a certificate and a medallion designed by B.C. artist Robert Davidson.
The Community Achievement Awards are presented by the British Columbia Achievement Foundation, an independent foundation established and endowed by the Province of B.C. to celebrate excellence in the arts, humanities, enterprise and community service.
Launched in 2003, the award winners are selected by an independent advisory council.