From left, Coun. Dorothy Baert, Coun. Duncan McMaster, Mayor Josie Osborne, Coun. Al Anderson, volunteer award recipient Ruby Bernard, Coun. Tom Stere, Coun. Andrea McQuade and Coun. Britt Chalmers celebrated Bernard’s significant volunteer contribution to her community at a ceremony in Tofino’s council chambers on Dec. 11. (Photo - Andrew Bailey)

Bernard earns Tofino’s top volunteer honour

Longtime local celebrated for 57 years of community commitment.

During their last regular meeting of 2018, Tofino’s municipal council cheered longtime volunteer champion Ruby Bernard.

“We have a very important presentation to make today,” said Tofino mayor Josie Osborne at the start of Dec. 11’s council meeting. “Ruby, it is a real honour to be able to say a few things about you…You’ve been here for 57 years in Tofino and you have truly lived a life of service.”

Osborne explained that Bernard arrived in Tofino in 1961 and served as a registered nurse at the Tofino General Hospital, later becoming an Acting Matron.

“When her three children were young, she was a Brownie leader for many years and she taught Sunday School as well at St. Columba Church. She has served as treasurer for the church for 35 years, been the music coordinator and provider for that same period, and continues to this day to provide that service,” Osborne said adding Bernard played a key role in the recent construction of St. Columba’s new addition.

She added that Bernard served on the Library Board and launched a story time event at the library, for which she donated the furniture at the time and that Bernard also served on Tofino’s municipal council for two terms from 1990-1996.

She noted Bernard has also volunteered for the Legion Ladies Auxiliary, Tofino Hospital Foundation and Tofino Salmon enhancement society.

Bernard told the Westerly News she was surprised and honoured to receive the recognition.

“That floored me because I’ve always thought of myself as, sort of, behind the scenes,” she said. “I was surprised and I was honoured too. It was a nice thing to get.”

She added that volunteering is vital to keep small communities vibrant.

“You do these things in a community and you don’t think of it as anything extraordinary. You just go from one project to the next, to the next, to the next. That’s what makes small communities. You do your part in it to keep the community spirit going,” she said. “It makes you part of the community…Small communities, I think, are where it’s at and you put back into the community what you can and you probably get more back from doing that than you realize.”

Bernard was presented with a plaque heralding her positive impact on the town and will also have her name placed on Tofino’s growing Volunteer Wall of Fame on Campbell Street.

READ MORE: Tofino cheers volunteer firefighter of the year

READ MORE: Tofino honours volunteer champion

READ MORE: Art Skoda earns Ucluelet’s top volunteer honour



andrew.bailey@westerlynews.ca

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