David Stafford - Volunteer of the Year

David Stafford - Volunteer of the Year

By: Michael Thorburn
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During most of my time at SFU, I seldom paid much attention to the volunteer fairs. This year, however, my involvement as a Peer Engagement Educator changed that. I had the great pleasure of not only being involved with the facilitation of the Big Fair for two days, but also of meeting someone quite admirable.

It wasn’t until my second day that I was informed that the 2013 BC-Yukon Volunteer of the Year, David Stafford, was sitting across from our booth. About average in height, with a large white beard and a huge smile across his face, Mr. Stafford spent the majority of his time at the fair engaging in discussion with students about volunteer opportunities at the Canadian Blood Services.

When I approached Mr. Stafford he was keen to tell me about his volunteer history. After retiring in 1989 (at 55!) he turned his energies towards a number of causes throughout Vancouver and Greater Vancouver communities. In the 33 years-and-counting of his efforts, Mr. Stafford has volunteered for the Canadian Blood Services, Burnaby Lakes Park, Air Canada “Dreams Take Flight” program, Covenant House, as well as for the Vancouver General Hospital.

Earlier this year, the federal government took notice of Mr. Stafford’s dedication and honoured him—alongside only 7 others from across the country—at a ceremony in Ottawa. In our chat, Mr. Stafford was very humble about his great achievement. He stated that the honour largely came as a surprise and he was most happy with getting the chance to form friendships with the other recipients.

Mr. Stafford’s story is one of which we should all take note. His example affirms a key tenet of the spirit of SFU—commitment to service is paramount to strengthening communities. It’s true that most of us will most likely never receive the same honour, but as Mr. Stafford displayed, obtaining awards ought to rank much lower than a wholehearted commitment to service. 

I think Mr. Stafford is on to something. 

Posted on October 21, 2013