© Carter Haydu
On Dec. 10, 2011, at Java Express, Moose Jaw's Marion Tolley looks over some Amnesty International letters local members of the organization wrote.
In the early days of Marion Tolley’s lifelong volunteer efforts, she also raised seven children, didn’t drive and worked full-time.
Now the 90-year-old is being recognized for her volunteerism over many decades. She is the recipient of the 2014 Moose Jaw Honours Award. The award will be presented at the Saskatchewan Festival of Words launch on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at the performing arts center at the Moose Jaw Public Library.
“How many other people can say that when they had seven kids at home, they had time to do anything else?” said Lynne McDonald, a member of the seven-person committee that decides who the award recipient is.
“I think the biggest thing about Marion is she has been a member of all of these various groups and she isn’t just a member. She actually gives time and she gives money and she serves on the executives of these various committees that she’s on.”
Among Tolley’s many volunteer contributions included teaching speed skating and she was a board member with the YM/YWCA. She canvassed for the United Way, worked on election campaigns and volunteered as a tutor and teacher.
She was involved in the Moose Jaw Canadian Club, Moose Jaw Multicultural Council, Scottish Society, Nature Saskatchewan, Sukanen Ship Pioneer Museum, History and Folklore Society, Saskatchewan Burrowing Owl Centre, Western Development Museum, Moose Jaw Museum and Art Gallery, the Council of Canadians and the Zion United Church Mission Service.
For 12 years she volunteered with the Moose Jaw Housing Authority and she was on the Moose Jaw Historical Society, which was re-incarnated as Heritage Moose Jaw. She was a member of the Claybank Brick Plant Historical Society, served on parks and recreation for five years and helped for many years with the Amnesty International letter writing campaign.
She worked through the Senior Citizen Action Now and Senior Citizens Assistance Association and served on the outreach committee with St. Andrew’s Church. She was also a city councillor from 1979 to 1982.
“The list of groups that she’s contributed to is just incredible. We’ve got a master list that started out with about 20 or 30 names and it’s sort of built up over the years,” said McDonald. “I don’t know why she didn’t jump out at us before because compared to just about anyone, she’s far and away given more time than anyone to the community and in a wide variety of areas … She’s an amazing woman.”
She said the criteria for the award is based on volunteerism.
“There are other things that recognize people in the community, but you can never do enough to thank people,” said McDonald. “You can never thank people enough for giving up their time and their effort and it does take time away from your family. It takes time away from whatever work you do to do this kind of thing.”
Follow Lisa Goudy on Twitter @lisagoudy.