At 80 years young, Ken Dewerson values that volunteering keeps him both physically and mentally active and that it gives him a good feeling to know he has helped someone in need.
“Life is not about money,” he states emphatically. “You have to feel good about what you are doing. Volunteering fills that need and keeps you socially active.”
Ken moved to West Kelowna from Delta, BC 24 years ago and has been volunteering at the Kelowna Airport for almost the whole time. He was already very used to the airline industry, having worked with Canadian Airlines International managing a Service Quality Program. He also has been volunteering with RCMP Community Policing for the past 21 years.
“As an Ambassador for the City of Kelowna and the Kelowna International Airport, I help to make the passengers’ transition through YLW as stress free as possible,” Ken explains. “This includes giving directions, or assisting those with disabilities. Whatever need the passenger or their family have, we do our best to assist them.”
“We also assist other tenants on the airport campus, such as assisting KF Aerospace with the opening of the Centre for Excellence and Museum,” adds Ken.
During COVID the Ambassador program was put on hold for two years and Ken has seen a sharp decrease in the number of volunteers coming back now that the program is running again. Like many organizations, they need to recruit new volunteers and also re-orientate the old ones with new procedures and protocols.
him “feel good and like a valuable member of society”.
A true romantic, Ken’s favourite stories from his experiences is a story of love. “I was watching passengers in the arrivals area in case they had issues, this was in the evening and as all the passengers departed one young lady was left in arrivals on her own,” recounts Ken. “I approached her and asked if she was OK, she said yes, but that her boyfriend was supposed to meet her. I told her I would keep an eye on her to ensure that she would be safe”.
“I looked out on the sidewalk and noticed an RCMP officer in full red serge walking towards the arrivals,” continues Ken. “He approached the young lady, gave her a hug, then dropped on one knee to propose! What an emotional event, I congratulated the couple and shook his hand. Turns out he had just been posted to Kelowna after 6 months in depot, and sent for his girlfriend to see his posting.”
Ken’s enthusiasm for volunteering and for helping people is clear. “I don’t like confrontation,” he says. “I always look for easy ways out of if possible and often a smile is the right answer.”
If you are looking for an opportunity to share your smiles and problem-solving skills, the YLW Ambassador program may be the perfect opportunity to give back. You can find more of these types of opportunities on the VolunteerConnector and KCR’s website www.kcr.ca/volunteer.
Dorothee Birker is the communications and development coordinator for KCR Community Resources. If you are interested in sharing your volunteer or organizational news, please contact Dorothee at email@example.com.