Volunteers offer critical support

He’s been a salesman and had stints as an RCMP auxiliary officer.

Dona Rockwell (rear)

Dona Rockwell (rear)

He’s been a salesman and had stints as an RCMP auxiliary officer.

But now, Corrie (last name can’t be used) feels he’s truly in a position to help people who really need it as a volunteer with the North Okanagan RCMP Victims Assistance program.

“I’ve seen people in crisis before but I was never in a position to help them,” said Corrie.

“Now I am. I probably have never done anything as gratifying as helping people in need or crisis like this.”

Always wanting to help people, Corrie was looking for something to do in his retirement. He noticed an ad in The Morning Star looking for volunteers for the victims assistance program.

“I wanted to do something where I could be the most helpful,” said Corrie, who completed his intensive program training in 2010.

Since then, Corrie has gone on three victims assistance calls and has logged a ton of hours on the telephone.

Dona Rockwell is the program manager for the North Okanagan RCMP Victims Assistance program, and has been since 1999.

Corrie is one of the 12 volunteers that currently serve the program, and Rockwell has launched a recruiting drive for 2011.

“We’re looking for about six-to-eight more volunteers,” said Rockwell.

“We’re looking for people who can volunteer during the day between Monday and Friday.”

What North Okanagan RCMP Victims Assistance program volunteers do is support people who are victims of crime or tragedy.

“Volunteers work within the local detachment to offer emotional support, information in written form, practical support, court orientation and support,” said Rockwell.

“They assist filling out forms as well as information and referrals to community supports and agencies.”

Volunteers must be a minimum of 22 years of age and have to commit to a four-hour-a-week office shift, as well as seven days per month on-call, which includes weekends and after-office hours, and take part in ongoing training.

Positions are available in Vernon, Armstrong, Enderby and Lumby, and volunteers will complete 75 hours of classroom training prior to working in the field.

The commitment upon training completion is a minimum of one year.

Volunteers must pass an RCMP security screening check.

The deadline for applications is Jan. 31 and a volunteer orientation will be held at the end of February. Application forms can be picked up at the Vernon RCMP detachment.

For more information on North Okanagan RCMP Victims Assistance, call Rockwell at 260-260-7171.