AMHERST – The driving force behind the Cumberland Health Auxiliary and the Highland Fling was honoured Monday by the Amherst Rotary Club with its most prestigious honour.
Vicki Daley was presented with the Paul Harris Community Fellowship Award for her years of service to the health care auxiliary and other community organizations.
“This is such an honour,” Daley said after accepting the award from Rotary president David McNairn during the club’s 83rd anniversary dinner at the Wandlyn Inn. “Forty some years ago, when my mom knew I was moving to Amherst she asked me what I was going to do in such a small town. Well, that hasn’t been a problem. Volunteering has been a personal journey allowing me to use the skills I have, some I didn’t know I had and let me develop new ones.”
Daley said volunteers are the lifeblood of the community. Every day she hears about someone doing something for someone else.
“Whether you give a little or give a lot, you are making a difference in the lives of others,” she said.
She also credited her husband, Blake, for being supportive of her volunteer work and her children for helping out as much as they could when living home.
“Every step of the way Blake has been behind the scenes doing whatever needed to be done,” she said. “Many times I found myself in way over my head and he has kept me from drowning, so I share this award with him.”
Born in Halifax, Daley moved to Amherst 44 years ago. She immediately became active with the Amherst Curling Club and helped her husband with the United Way and the Rotary Club’s rummage and yard sales and Rotary balls. She also helped found the Marquess of Lorne Sailing Club and provided leadership in a variety of official capacities.
She was active in Scouts in support of her son, Seth, and also helped the band association. She helped her daughter, Sara, with a school play serving as stage manager for a major play.
She is also an artist, supporting various volunteer causes and charities with her work.
She has also been active with the Chignecto Naturalist Club, the Canadian Wildlife Service, the Beaubassin Archeology Club, the Paleoanthological Club at Wasson’s Bluff, the Christmas bird count fro Bird Status Canada, the Audobon Society, Christmas for Kids, Cumberland Wilderness, the YMCA and two multi-cultural festivals at ARHS.
Daley was active with the Amherst 2000 Society that celebrated the new millennium with a giant New Year’s Eve Party in downtown Amherst, organizing hundreds of volunteers.
When the Highland Fling started in 1981, Daley was recruited to do marketing and public relations. Since then, she has been president of the auxiliary and longtime convenor of the annual event.
All the while, she set ambitious goals, including raising more than $40,000 last year.
While her husband and Roger Bacon were working to raise the money for the community portion of the new regional hospital, she was active in the transition team for the auxiliary as it prepared to move into the new facility.
She played a key role in training volunteers to operate the new coffee shop and gift shop and while most hospital coffee shops struggle to make ends meet and rely on subsidies, the coffee shop at the regional hospital has been a successful fundraiser for the auxiliary with all the money going back into the purchase of medical equipment.