A man known for his booming laugh and over-sized heart earned recognition for the mountain of contributions he has made valley-wide on Saturday, February 23rd.
Floyd Verge, the founder of Verge for Youth, an organization which has raised over $350,000 for youth and families in need, received Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee award after being nominated by B.C. Liberal Party candidate Doug Clovechok and Columbia Valley RCMP detachment Staff Sergeant Marko Shehovac for his devotion to the community.
“The work that he has done and his selfless commitment to young people needed to be recognized,” Mr. Clovechok said. “I was absolutely thrilled to be able to put that nomination forward and even more thrilled when he got it.”
Mr. Verge, who was one of the last children born at Pynelogs when it was still a hospital, was raised in the Columbia Valley and first started his volunteer career in 1990, when he offered his time on a Parent Advisory Committee with his wife Shelan, and acting as a Scout leader for his son, Shayne.
Several years later, after re-uniting with his extended family over a series of funerals, Floyd decided that the group should meet under happier circumstances every year. After three years of getting together for golfing tournaments, Floyd’s philanthropic side showed up.
“I just happened to say, ‘Listen, we are here every year; why don’t we see if we can raise some money?’”
During the first summer of the Verge for Youth Golf Tournament in 1996, the group raised $800 for the community and were motivated to continually fundraise for youth and their families struggling through difficult times and illness.
“That was the start of it and then you just spread your wings from there,” he added. “Unfortunately, the way our system is, when you are in the hospital everything is covered, but when you are out of the hospital nothing is covered and because of that, we got involved.”
Although he has helped dozens of community members, one story sticks out for Floyd. A four-year-old child, who had recently received a heart transplant, was in need of a $7,000 monitoring machine in order to be able to come home to her family. Through the generosity of Verge for Youth the young girl received the equipment and was reunited with her family at home.
“The more we can help the youth out, the more they are going to help their communities wherever they are later on,” he explained. “I think that is the best investment.”
Staff Sergeant Shehovac, who was a co-nominator of Floyd and also received the Diamond Jubilee Award, is surprised by Floyd’s drive to constantly better his community.
“To me, I received the award because it was my job,” he said. “I am glad that someone put my name forward, but that is what I expect of myself. With a volunteer, it is even more special to me because it is not their job and they are not getting paid for anything.”
Floyd’s popularity in the valley was nowhere more obvious than when he received his award.
“There was a lady that came up to him in tears and hugged him,” Staff Sergeant Shehovac added. “I think that is probably the best thing about what he does is when people get back to Floyd about the difference that he made to them.”
Although Floyd is an award-winning example of a volunteer, anyone can get involved to support their community.
“Everybody’s time, no matter how small, is important,” Floyd added. “Even if you can only give five minutes or half an hour or whatever, if you are giving of yourself you are a volunteer.”