With almost 80 years of combined volunteer experience, Pat and Penny Fennell are indeed deserved recipients of the Kiwanis Sportspersons of the Year honours for 2010 .
“It was an honour,” said Pat. “I was kind of surprised, but yes it was a good deal.”
Like most parent/volunteers, the Fennells began serving the community in earnest when their children got involved in sport, they just forgot to stop once the kids moved on.
“It’s nice to give back to the community,” said Penny. “When you’re growing up you see people doing stuff, and you have to put an effort into it, because things don’t happen by themselves. You get back what you put into it and it makes something better for your kids or other people’s kids.”
Perhaps their biggest contribution and what the Fennels are most remembered for is their work in the concession and on the field at Butler Park where they toiled for almost 10 years.
As time went by, and with grand children on the way, the Fennells realized they needed to take a break from Butler.
“It was time for someone else to take a turn and until you walk away no one else will step forward, so we thought somebody else should have the fun that we had,” said Penny.
Yet, there is little rest for the weary, as other organizations found lots for the dynamic duo to do.
“Usually when I volunteer for stuff, I volunteer him (Pat) too, so you know it comes as a parcel,” said Penny.
Over the years, Pat has coached baseball, girls softball, and hockey, refereed, and had stints as American Legion director and Babe Ruth equipment manager, and was a member of mixed curling executive, while Penny put her skills to work in many facets, from scorekeeper to treasurer for Babe Ruth baseball and Trail Curling Association, as well as fundraiser and commissioner for Babe Ruth, director and long-time member of the Silver City Days committee, not to mention the many sub-committees, fundraisers, beer gardens, and miscellaneous barbecues, windups, and raffles, they’ve devoted time to.
And the retired Trail couple haven’t slowed down. Both Pat and Penny will be helping out at the upcoming B.C. Senior Men’s and Women’s Curling championship in their familiar spot serving refreshments, selling 50/50 tickets, preparing the banquet, and wherever else the couple is needed.
As Penny say, “You learn by doing,” but most importantly, “You learn over the years, you never turn a volunteer away.”
The Kiwanis Sportsperson of the Year Awards banquet goes on Feb. 16 at the Riverbelle, and organizers invite the public to attend the event.
Tickets can be purchased at the Trail Coffee Company, the Doorway in Trail, and from any Kiwanis member. Call Peter Thiessen at 368-3581 for tickets or for more information.
Features on the 2011 and 2012 winners will appear in next week’s Trail Times.