AMHERST – His volunteer work started when he was a teenager, but the importance of the work he was doing in his own community really hit home when his mother passed away.
“When my mother was 50 years-old, she passed away from cancer,” said Michael Wilson. “At that time, the Cancer Society was good to her and good to our family in many ways. I always said that after that, I would give back if I could. I’ve always been a believer that if you can give back, you should give back.”
That emotional event was what had Wilson diving head first into volunteer work with different organizations. He has done work with the Diabetic Association, the Cumberland YMCA, the United Way, the School Advisory Council for both Amherst Regional High School and Cumberland North Academy, Spring House, and has been actively involved with the Relay for Life, and that’s only naming a few.
Because of his tremendous generosity, Wilson was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal last week.
“I keep myself pretty busy,” he said with a chuckle. “I don’t sleep much but then, I’ve never been a big sleeper. It’s just what I do and I do a lot of it in memory of my mother.”
Over the years, even with all his volunteer work and his commitments to some of the boards at his work place, Wilson still finds time to show his support for the Canadian Cancer Society.
“Hopefully, with all the work they do, we will find a cure,” he said. “My brother was diagnosed with lymphoma a couple of years ago and has had a bone marrow transplant but is doing well. My dad also suffers from cancer is going through his third type.”
Although he is honoured by receiving such tremendous recognition for his work, he said there are other people who deserve just as much praise.
“If it weren’t for the work that so many people do to raise money and do research, then there would be many loved ones who would not be here,” he said.
With the new award under his belt, Wilson has one more thing he has to accomplish: finding out who nominated him.
“I received a letter in the mail one day at work and it said I would be awarded and I had no idea about it,” he said. “I still don’t know 100 per cent (who did it). I think it may have been my supervisor who put my name forward and it was supported very much by the warden.”
The ceremony, which took place in Moncton, was excited and emotional for Wilson.
“But it was also stressful because it was very formal,” said Wilson. “But my father and sister were able to come and they were quite proud. To be honest, I was very proud to be sitting there among the dozens of recipients.”
But the nicest part of the whole thing was seeing how proud he had made his father.
“He’s from the generation that didn’t show a lot of emotion,” he said. “But (during the ceremony), you could tell he was quite proud. When I first found out, he called his sister and was telling everyone how pleased he was. For me, that was the most exciting part of the day.”
Wilson said he knows he has made his mother proud.