Red Deer resident Sharon Schultz recently received the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers – the nation’s highest honour for people who donate their time.
The medal, which is awarded through the Governor General of Canada’s office, is in recognition of Schultz’s time volunteering for the Canadian Cancer Society, Canadian Blood Services, organizing the Remembrance Day ceremonies at Lindsay Thurber High School and her involvement with Red Deer Public Schools Finish Line program, which helps students complete their high school diploma.
Schultz was made aware of the honour over a year ago.
“There was anticipation for a long time, but it surpassed everything I could have imagined,” she said.
At first, Schultz didn’t realize she had received the award.
“No one told me I had been nominated and I didn’t know the award had existed,” she said. “It wasn’t until a couple days later when one of the nominators had a huge smile on his face and said, ‘How do you feel?’
“It has been an incredible feeling ever since and very humbling. I don’t do any of this for that and there are people that do more than I could ever hope to.”
Schultz said volunteering is easy when you find something you are passionate about, something she feels about everything she volunteers for.
“The secret is to find something that gives back to you,” she said.
Schultz began volunteering as a Sunday school teacher when she was 12-years-old. She then followed that up at 15, when she began volunteering at the Foothills Hospital in Calgary. She said he passion for giving back came from her family.
“I have always been around volunteering, thanks to my parents. I have always had that giving sense because that is who they were and I learned at a very young age that you do good things for people,” she said.
She intends to volunteer even more after she retires from her job with the Red Deer Public School District.
“I won’t stop,” she said. “My mom volunteered until she was 86 at the nursery at her church. I may change focuses when I retire. I want to do more at the hospital, maybe getting very involved with the Cancer Centre. I lost my husband and sister to cancer so I would like to give back more in that area.”
She added, “The things I am involved with now I don’t see changing, I’ll just add a few more when I retire.”