Sheila Hart is honoured for her volunteerism through Rotary in Above and Beyond

Sheila Hart goes Above and Beyond — Rotarian always giving back

Making a difference in someone’s life is a clear motivator of one local woman’s volunteer efforts.

Above and Beyond is a feature in the Nelson Star. It recognizes 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:

Making a difference in someone’s life is a clear motivator of one local woman’s volunteer efforts.

Sheila Hart is a Rotarian through and through happy with the opportunities the service club gives her — to give back to her community and the world she’s travelled.

Shortly after moving to Nelson in 1992, the Rotary Day Break club was forming and Hart became a charter member. She says she’s a “lifer.”

The Kingston, Ontario native entered university with service in her heart. A degree in Social Work gave way to a 10-year career in Child Welfare. Coming to Nelson via Revelstoke where she met her husband, she joined the Sisters of St. Anne and spent 23 years in health care administration at Mount St. Francis.

But her volunteer roots were established in childhood.

“I grew up in a family that believed in giving back to the community,” said Hart. “My mom led by example. I’ve been really blessed and I just love giving back.”

Her volunteerism with Rotary has taken her around the world, fulfilling experiences plentiful, yet Hart is always happy to return to the community she now calls home.

“Honest to God, Nelson is the best place in the world to live,” she said. “From the first time I visited, my soul has been in British Columbia.”

Through Rotary, Hart has travelled to Sweden and India with the Friendship Exchange program. And she’s taken part in the Rotaplast in Peru and Nepal.

Rotarians sponsor medical missions to perform life changing plastic surgeries, often cleft-lip or palate operations, in third world countries.

“I go there as a little cog in the wheel, as a non-medical volunteer,” she said. “But it really makes a difference.”

She recalled one particular case where a 55-year-old woman had a facial deformity since birth and the impact it had to see it finally fixed.

These patients were once wrapped in plastic sheets after surgery. Hart is part of Wrap-A-Smile where quilts keep those patients warm.

Hart’s volunteerism also includes the role of coordinator for the MS Kootenay Challenge, an annual bike tour raising money for Multiple Sclerosis. And she’s a member of the Kootenay Quilter’s Guild that raffles off quilts for the Kootenay Lake Hospital Foundation and collects quilts to donate through Rotary.

“I’ve lost track of how many quilts I’ve collected,” she said.

Her work in the community often links up with the Day Break club. Hart tirelessly fundraised for Nelson’s new outdoor skate park. She helps with Meals on Wheels and listens to the L.V. Rogers grads present their “grad transitions” plans.

While seeing her efforts pay off in the lives of others keeps her going, Hart also said the intellectual stimulation is rewarding — that and the camaraderie.

“I love getting out there with people in the community,” she said.

In her spare time, Hart swims. “The pool is my heaven.” She hikes in the summer and cross-country skis in the winter.

“I don’t need anything,” she said. “It’s only about experience.”

Just Posted

Slocan Valley added to communities on flooding evac alert

Kootenay Lake is expected to reach flooding level in Nelson by Friday

UPDATED: Hwy 3 west of Creston remains closed due to mudslide

A detour is available on the Kootenay Lake Ferry, but commuters could see wait times

COLUMN: Making a wildlife smart community

David White writes how property owners can avoid conflict with nature

Police searching for Nelson man

Brent Mickelson hasn’t been heard from since February

Local police recognized for work

Eight officers were honoured for removing impaired drivers

VIDEO: After the floods, comes the cleanup as Grand Forks rebuilds

Business owners in downtown wonder how long it will take for things to go back to normal

Couple survives being buried in mudslide on B.C. highway

The couple, from Saskatchewan, were en route to Nelson when a tree fell in their path

‘So grateful:’ Injured Bronco hockey player glad he’s alive, works on recovery

Ryan Straschnitzki was badly hurt in the accident: a spinal injury, broken ribs, a broken collar bone, and punctured lung

PHOTOS: Floodwaters rise and fall in Grand Forks

The flood-ravaged Kootenay-Boundary region begins to heal

Martin Mars waterbombers’ firefighting days are done

Wayne Coulson said his company still hopes to find a new home for the vintage aircraft

NHL playoffs weekly roundup

Vegas Golden Knights have done the impossible and have a chance at hoisting the Stanley Cup

Changes needed for ‘Alert Ready’ mass emergency system

‘You need to strike this careful balance between alerting people to lots of problems — and doing it too often’

Las Vegas Golden Knights move on to Stanley Cup final

Improbable run continues for NHL’s newest expansion team

Oregon’s flooded recreational pot market a cautionary tale to Canada

‘In a broader sense, we are adding legal production to an already robust illegal production’

Most Read