Brown named Parrsboro’s volunteer of the year

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Andrew Wagstaff
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Lewis Brown accepted a certificate of appreciation as Parrsboro's volunteer representative of the year from Mayor Lois Smith at town hall on March 26.

PARRSBORO – Volunteering may be a thankless job most of the time, but not always. Lewis Brown found that out on March 26.

Brown, a longtime member of volunteer causes both high profile (the Parrsboro Lions Club) and low (the Parrsboro and Area Food Bank) received a raucous ovation from the large crowd gathered at town hall for a ceremony honouring him as Parrsboro’s 2013 volunteer representative of the year.

Brown accepted the certificate of appreciation from Mayor Lois Smith with his wife Shirley looking on, along with many friends and family gathered in council chambers.

“Volunteerism is a great part of our life,” said the mayor. “If we didn’t have the volunteers, a lot of things would not happen in our town.”

Brown, who received the same honour from the town in 2006, has been an active member of the Parrsboro Lions Club for more than 40 years, serving as its president on three separate occasions, and numerous other roles. He has also served as chairman of the Parrsboro and Area Food Bank for several years, and is the vice-chairman of the Parrsboro Radio Society.

He said he was quite honoured by the recognition.

“To me, volunteering is just a natural thing,” he said. “I’ve done it all my life, and I just keep doing it. I don’t think anything of it.”

His volunteer involvements are just a part of his daily “work” schedule, and a way of giving back to the community that has given to him, he explained.

“The town has been good to me,” said Brown. “I grew up in Parrsboro, was educated here, stayed in Parrsboro, had a good job in Parrsboro, retired in Parrsboro. I’m still here and I have no intentions of leaving. As long as I can, I will keep volunteering. I enjoy it.”

The people gathered for the event represented a cross-section of those who have been affected by his work as a volunteer, from a lady who he installed an In Touch (Lifeline) system for; to Catherine Meredith and Dora Fuller, who put on senior’s dinners through co-operation with the Lions; to Frank Hartman, on behalf of the Lions of Nova Scotia.

Rev. Greg Doyle, who has dealt with Brown at the food bank, spoke about his reliability and his ability to avoid “compassion burnout.”

“He still feels a great deal of compassion for the people he helps, and doesn’t seem to get tired of it, even when it seems he’s dealing with the same things over and over again,” said Doyle. “I think that speaks a great deal to his integrity and strength if character.”

Many others in attendance got up to speak about Brown’s community work, including those who have known him the longest, such as his brother-in-law Lyle Yorke, and longtime friend Kerwin Davison.

“Parrsboro has survived and been such a wonderful place because of people like you giving their time,” said Davison. “That’s what makes Parrsboro special.”

Organizations: Parrsboro Lions Club, Area Food Bank, Parrsboro Radio Society Lions of Nova Scotia

Geographic location: Parrsboro

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