An Enderby man has been recognized with an award befitting someone with decades of volunteer service to his community.
Councillors Raquel Knust and Brian Schreiner presented Melvin Slater with a Lifetime Civic Merit Award on June 15, during a small ceremony in Cenotaph Park. The award is given to volunteers who have served the community for more than 25 years and only with a unanimous vote of council.
Slater has championed a wide range of causes with a long list of service organizations, including the Enderby Care Society, the Oddfellows Lodge, Enderby & District Lions Club, Enderby & District Seniors Complex and the Enderby & District Legion.
The former volunteer firefighter was also the president of the local Lions Club when the Lions Gazebo was built at Riverside Park.
It was a massive community project at the time, and the vision of volunteers like Slater made it happen.
“That was an interesting project, to see how the gazebo was built from the ground up,” said Slater, who has never been one to turn away from a daunting project.
The goodwill was felt around town the year the gazebo was built: the Lions’ membership grew from 25 members to 75 by the project’s end.
With his gift for understatement, Slater recalled “a lot of log peeling” from those days.
“Once you got to know our volunteer community, and they got to know you, they would voice their needs and, if you followed through, then they would always come back to you,” he said. “I always tried to please them. But I would also mention that we may not always be successful but we always need to chase after what we want rather than wait.”
Slater got involved with the Seniors Complex society after his partner, Bev Gale, invited him to a meeting. It didn’t take long for his leadership instincts to kick in.
“In my position with the Seniors Society, I saw that the seniors needed things to improve the Complex. I was always big on not waiting, but saying, ‘let’s do it now.’”
Before he knew it, he was the society’s vice president. During his tenure, the Seniors Complex gathered up numerous capital grants to maintain its role as the go-to place for Enderby’s highly active seniors community.
Nearing 80 years old, Slater has “officially retired” from many of his volunteer activities, but still remains involved in the community.
“For somebody who is young and thinking about contributing to Enderby, I would say ‘go for it.’ You learn on your own journey through it. I learned a lot. You learn about people.”