For Career Trek board member Vic Bellay, the impact of playing fast-pitch softball as a youth has reverberated through his life, like the shockwave after a bat hits a ball.
“My earliest recollection of volunteering is when I was 16 years old,” says Vic, with his patented engaging smile and easy manner.
At 16 Vic aged out of the community softball program but wanted to stay involved and pass along his knowledge of the game to younger players. He enrolled in a coaching theory and practice program and began volunteering for the very first time, and hasn’t looked back since.
Those early volunteer experiences have rippled through his life, shaped his worldview, and inevitability led to his being nominated and winning The Lieutenant Governor’s Vice-Regal Volunteer Award here in Manitoba.
Vic was nominated for the award by longtime friend and Career Trek CEO Darrell Cole, who entered the nomination in secret for fear that Vic would protest.
“I am honoured and humbled to be recognized in this way, but still a little uncomfortable with it,” says Vic. “I have encountered many people who volunteer for worthwhile endeavours, and I believe that they are at least if not more deserving of recognition that I am.”
According to Darrell, Vic has been an active volunteer for over 38 years. He has held a range of positions from entry level to volunteer president. He has volunteered in the North and in the South of Manitoba. He roles up his sleeves for young people, sports teams, communities, education organizations, housing advocates, and others.
“I wanted to tell Vic personally that he had won the award,” says Darrell. “I went to the curling club to tell him, but I had to wait for him to come off the ice first because he was busy volunteering teaching people to curl.”
The impact that volunteerism that had on Vic’s life has been longstanding and profound.
Darrell attributes Vic’s selfless commitment to others to family and small community values, where giving of yourself is less a notion of volunteerism and more about simply doing and caring.
But perhaps Vic sums up the impact of volunteerism best when he says that volunteering is fun, you can make new friends, and share interesting experiences.
“The best part of volunteering is the possibility that I can make a positive impact in the life of another person,” says Vic.