It’s good to know that good deeds do not go unnoticed. For her many years of volunteer work and service to the community of Lacombe, Rilla Hand has been recognized as this year’s Lacombe and District Chamber of Commerce Lifetime Achievement award winner.
Hand said that she was quite taken aback even when she was informed she had been nominated for the award.
“I certainly didn’t expect that,” said Hand. She added that she was quite pleased when she was chosen as the recipient.
“It is a wonderful honour and you don’t expect that when you are volunteering, to be honoured in that way,” said Hand. She added that the gesture is an interesting one as volunteers don’t do what they do to get recognized.
“You don’t expect that somebody is going to notice and think that you are doing something great,” said Hand.
Volunteering has always been important for Hand, she said.
“It’s just a way of giving back to the community,” said Hand. “A lot of things wouldn’t be done if it wasn’t for volunteers.”
And just as volunteers support their communities, Hand has those who support her. She said her volunteer work would not have been possible without her family, whom she was very glad to have with her when she received the award.
“They are always there for you,” said Hand. “They are very important.”
Hand went on to say that there are many benefits to volunteering as well.
She said she particularly enjoys the social aspect of her community involvement, saying it has led her to meet new people and forge new friendships.
In fact, it was friendships that led to much of Hand’s volunteer work. She said that with the first groups she joined she was invited to do so by friends.
Born in Kerrobert, SK, Hand moved to the Village of Clive with her family in 1945.
She attended high school in Lacombe, moving into the community while in Grade 10. She said she didn’t really get involved with community volunteering until much later in life, after she had a family and her four children had grown up some.
Through her friends, Hand began working with some of the volunteer groups within the community.
She said that she was invited to join one volunteer group, which made connections that led to an invite to join another, then another as a snowball effect began to form.
Hand said that her accomplishments aren’t hers alone, but were done as part of volunteer groups with many more members working towards a common goal.
Her humility was obvious when she mentioned these other members.
“I certainly didn’t do it alone,” said Hand. “There are lots of other people that belong to all these organizations that do as much or more as I have done.”
As is fitting for someone receiving the Lifetime Achievement award, Hand has been very involved with many charitable organizations and volunteer groups over the years.
She said she has been a dedicated member of the Imperial Order of Daughters of the Empire for over 25 years, is a founding member of the Lacombe Palliative Care Society, does bookkeeping for the Lacombe Farmer’s Market, and is very involved with her parish, St. Andrew’s United Church.
Hand added that she has held executive positions numerous times with many of these groups. She also said she has been involved with several other initiatives in the past.
While Hand said she doesn’t do as much as she used to, it is clear she is still very involved in the community.
The Lacombe and District Chamber of Commerce Lifetime Achievement Award is awarded each year to someone who has demonstrated service to the community for over 25 years.
Like the Citizen of the Year award, it is given to candidates who demonstrate passion for their community and a drive to improve the quality of life for the members of that community.