When we talk about community, most often we are talking about people—people who do things that make where we live a better place to be.
While it’s easy to pass these folks off as “unsung heroes”—mostly just visible to those involved with the particular cause, event, group or project they are working on—and focus on the more glamorous “celebrities” amongst us, it’s the hundreds of thousands of people toiling behind the scenes in communities across B.C. who help create a sense of place for us all.
These folks could be volunteers for social or sports groups, they could be work with children, seniors, people with disabilities, the homeless, the sick, the dying. They could be you. You name it and there are volunteers and paid people making a difference where it counts, in the lives of the people who live in their communities. For some it’s their job, for others it’s their passion. But for all of us, it’s a benefit.
The one thing they have in common is the importance of the work they do. The sum of the parts may not be greater than the whole in this case. But when the whole is making a community a better place to live, it’s hard to top the end result.
One of those people is a Kelowna man who is stepping away from what he has done for the last 15 years.
Richard Montgomery has been the driving force behind the Kelowna Apple Triathlon since 2000. I don’t know the man but I know what he’s done.
He has helped put the local triathlon on map, taking an event with 300 competitors to one that now hosts 1,800 participants each year and has become a signature event for the city.
For several years I was a volunteer with the Okanagan Marathon and worked closely with the then volunteer race director of the event. I saw first hand the amount of work involved in putting on such an event. So I know the countless hours Montgomery must have put in over the years.
And, in its own way, whether you are a participant or not, you have to realize the Apple Triathlon has done its part to help make Kelowna a more complete place.
I know this same column could be written about a myriad of other local events, programs and individuals. And maybe it should be.
It has been said it takes a village to raise a child. But it also takes that child, who grows into a caring adult, to help make a village.
History is made by those who show up, and life, as we would like it to be, is also made by people who show up.
So here’s to the “unsung heroes.” We may not know their names but we should be grateful they do what they do.
Alistair Waters is the assistant editor of the Capital News.