How long have you been volunteering with NWPD?
About 16 years. I went to the Citizen’s School NWPD offered and then became involved. That program was incredibly informative and engaging.
How do you currently serve the city?
I work with Crime Watch doing the Graffiti Patrol and I’m on the Board of the Victim’s Assistance Unit (VAU).
What prompted you to want to volunteer?
After retirement, I was looking forward to giving back to the community.
What have you found rewarding about volunteering with NWPD?
The Graffiti Patrol is not a vital unit in community safety, but a clean city tells everyone a clear message, about Crime Watch. Knowing and seeing things cleaned up quickly is gratifying. Over the years, I’ve talked with many property owners about the problems graffiti can pose and they are quite understanding and obliging. Really, it’s a great way to show people we care about making the city a better place. Just driving around looking for graffiti is an interesting way to learn about New West.
Do you volunteer with other organizations?
I also volunteer with the Fraser River Discovery Centre doing school programs and Quayside Walking Tours. I’ve had some involvement with the Quayside Community Board.
My wife, Colleen and I got involved with World Renew, A Christian Relief organization, Canadian Food Grains Bank, a Western Canada farmers consortium, and the Canadian government which together provided relief for International Disasters. We went for 3-6 months, as International Relief Managers to places like Mali, Malawi, Kenya, Zambia, Pakistan and Nepal, after a natural disaster (flood, drought, earthquake) and provided food, seed, water, building materials and medicines to help people thought a critical season. We’d oversee procurement on the international markets and distribution of these materials, record keeping, etc to meet Canadian integrity standards. Prior to that, we were involved for various three-week stints in helping rebuilding of communities across North America after similar disasters. From Fort McMurray to High River to New Orleans, we’d head off. Finally, we spent a year teaching ESL in Japan. After each of these projects, I’d come back and carry on with my Graffiti Patrol. During all these, I became involved in and was trained in Emergency Management BC preparing for “the worst-case scenario” in BC if it ever happened.
What encouragement would you give to someone who wants to keep their city a safe place?
Do your small bit, keep it clean, report problems, and keep your eyes and ears open. Get involved, meet people, have fun doing it.
What do you love about New Westminster?
I’ve really enjoyed learning about the city, its heritage, its place in First Nations history, the Fraser River, and enjoy sharing that with others. Trying to understand colonialism and reconciliation are still things we need to confront and deal with.