Bette and Harvey Craig have volunteered for a variety of organizations in Nelson for 23 years.

Above and Beyond: Quarter century of volunteering

Nelson residents Harvey and Bette Craig are always willing to give their time to a cause.

Harvey and Bette Craig are local volunteers who have gone above and beyond with almost a quarter century of service in the community of Nelson.

“This retired couple goes out of their way to give back to the people of Nelson in so many ways,” said Marnie Lehr, who nominated the couple.

“Harvey volunteers at various hockey events and is heavily involved with the referees. A few months back he and Betty were at Safeway selling Kootenay Coupon Books for yet another organization. They are true treasures!”

Harvey’s list of volunteer efforts reads like a resume full of experience ranging from coaching and refereeing youth soccer and minor hockey to helping the Red Cross and Telus Community Ambassadors. He said he originally got involved with the sports because their son was playing, but he continued to volunteer for a total of 23 years and played hockey until he was in his late 60s.

Since retiring in 1999, he figures he has volunteered well over 200 hours a year.

Bette has volunteered at South Nelson Elementary School’s kindergarten through the Seniors Coordinating Society for several years. She has provided some amazing craft ideas for students and their parents.

“I started because my kids were going to school there,” said Bette. “They moved on but I stayed.”

She also makes an assortment of crafts at the Wildflower School one morning a week. They made poppies for Remembrance day and will soon be making snowmen.

Harvey assists with craft projects for wife’s volunteer work too.

She has also volunteered for many Nelson Rhythm Ropers events during the provincials and fundraisers which she was involved with due to grandchildren’s involvement in the sport.

She volunteers “because the community has been good to us.”

“If everyone volunteers a little bit, no one would have to volunteer a lot,” she said.

Bette worked for 30 years at Mount St. Francis, one of two private extended care hospitals in Nelson, the other being Willowhaven. The Willowhaven Hospital Auxiliary wanted their money to carry on helping seniors so they asked some of the nurses working at Mount St. Francis to put the money to this so Bette and a group of mostly retired nurses formed FONE.

Bette retired in 2000 and has been the president of FONE (Friends of Nelson Elders) since it began in 2005.

“So we started working in the community rather than in facilities,” said Bette.

The organization funds different programs for seniors and they have partnered with Osprey Foundation last year to receive $75,000 over three years to help FONE projects and services.

“We handle smaller projects like the breakfast program at The Salvation Army and we’ve supported SEEDS.”

During the last year, grants totaling some $15,000 provided funding to the Women’s Centre, Mountain Lakes, Jubilee Manor, Broader Horizons, the Nelson Library and the Seniors Coordinating Society for a variety of programs.

Harvey helps with the computer tasks for FONE, something Bette said is not her strong suit but is needed today.

They both volunteer with Telus Community Ambassadors of which Harvey is the treasurer. He said Telus provides schools supplies and the volunteers provide the labour to divide the bulk school supplies into each backpack which are distributed to school districts as far away as Grand Forks. The list of assistance goes on to providing baby bags at the hospital and hygiene bags at The Salvation Army and Stepping Stones. They raise money with garage sales for a new L.V. Roger scholarship and spend a day of service at wherever the project is every year such as Habitat for Humanity, MS BIKE and Meals on Wheels.

They have both helped with the Canadian Red Cross medical equipment loan service for 21 years.

Above & Beyond-The Nelson Star is pleased to continue this column to recognize the many volunteers in our community who go above and beyond to help others.

The individuals we profile are selected by a committee outside the newspaper based on set criteria. For example, the person must be volunteering over the long term, and mustn’t be paid for the work. If you’d like to nominate somebody for consideration by the Above and Beyond committee email their name and why they deserve recognition to: publisher@nelsonstar.com.

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