Judy Roggeman and Joyce Lang are Area F and G's Volunteers of the Year.

RDEK celebrates valley’s volunteers of the year

One thing Judy Roggeman and Joyce Lang share is a passion for volunteering — and last week, the Regional District of East Kootenay took note.

One is a whiz in the kitchen at Edgewater’s church and community dinners, while the other has 14 years of Columere Park Community Association meetings to her name.

But one thing Judy Roggeman and Joyce Lang share is a passion for volunteering — and last week, the Regional District of East Kootenay took note.

The two women were among the recipients of the 2011 Volunteer of the Year awards, which cover all electoral areas in the regional district. Winners were honoured with a dinner September 21.

“It was totally shocking. I just went ‘what, are you kidding me? Wow,'” says Area F winner Roggeman. “I was really amazed that someone took the time.”

Roggeman and her family first moved to Columere from Calgary 15 years ago.

Within a year she was a member of the community association board, and since then she’s served as secretary, director and president.

“In those positions she raised the level of the community to new heights,” one of her nominees wrote.

“As well as quality leadership, she was always available for the day to day community tasks. Her commitment went beyond Columere and she readily volunteered. If there was a meeting in the Fairmont or Columbia Lake area, she was there, not just as an observer.”

Roggeman says her young family originally inspired her to join the association.

“My passion was to make sure my family and kids were happy with where we were living,” she says.

Over the years, she ran the Columere community newsletter — “it grew from sort of a one page little flyer type to a four or five page very elaborate thing with photos and everything” — went to many, many meetings and, when issues including lake zoning in the area and Lot 48 popped up,  also discovered an unexpected political side to her personality.

“It got pretty political and I really, really enjoyed it,” she says of working with the regional district and other groups.

“And I think people did really appreciate that someone had their finger on the button so to speak.”

Lang, Area G’s volunteer of the year, is praised by her nominators for being a “true volunteer.”

“Whatever functions takes place in the community, whether headed by the Legion, the Church, the Hospital Auxiliary or the Seniors, Joyce is there to help…often from set up to clean up,” her nominators wrote.

“She is a “behind the scenes” worker who gives endless hours to the community. She helps the shut-ins by picking up their mail and doing shopping for them, or just making sure they are alright.”

Lang, a resident of Edgewater for more than 30 years, says she was originally inspired to volunteer about 10 years ago, after her husband passed away.

“I said, ‘well, I’ve got to do something other than putter around,'” she says, adding interacting with people in her community is one of the greatest rewards of volunteering. Of her many volunteering duties, cooking is the one she enjoys most.

“And it’s fun,” she adds. “We’ve got a good bunch of people.”

This is the second year Lang has been nominated for the award, and she says she was surprised to see people in the community try as second time.

“This year they snuck it in again. It’s nice to be appreciated, really.”

With much of the community’s volunteer base in its senior years, Lang says she’d like to see some new faces come out to help out in Edgewater.

“A lot of people say, ‘nobody asked me.’ Well, it’s not a matter of them asking, it’s people going in and volunteering, and saying ‘can you use some help?'” she says. “We never turn down help.”


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