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A Life of Giving Back: Couple Wins $500 Shopping Spree at New Westminster Festival of Volunteers

Posted Feb 12, 2015 by Stacy Ashton

Joe and Christine Stachura didn’t expect to win the $500 Royal City Centre shopping spree at the New Westminster Festival of Volunteers, but they sure deserve the prize.  Joe and Christine moved to New Westminster three years ago from Yorkton, Saskatchewan.

The couple have a long history of community engagement.   From Joe’s perspective, Christine’s best volunteer decision was “volunteering to marry me 52 years ago,” but that was just the start of a life built on community.  The couple were foster parents for 25 years, opening their home to 42 children, including 19 newborns.  Joe also spent 19 years volunteering with the Boy Scouts.

Even hardships became opportunities to give back.  The couple ran a cattle and grain farm for many years, and Joe lost his hand in the cattle feed hammer mill.  That day is crystal clear in Joe’s memory. “I turned off the machine and walked to the house,” Joe said.  A neighbour who happened to be a nurse called ahead to the hospital to make sure they’d be ready for him. 

During Joe’s recuperation he got to know the Saskatchewan Abilities Council very well, and became a support person for many other injured farmers.  Joe was especially helpful in explaining the chronic pain that can come with an amputation, as your nerves keep looking for a limb that is no longer there.  Joe also used his experience in farm safety workshops in schools.

At the Festival of Volunteers, HUB New Westminster was a hit for the couple, who learned about the many bike and walking trails in New Westminster.  “Walking is my thing,” said Joe, “so that was very informative.”

Christine has already made an excellent volunteer connection at Century House, where she helps out at the Health Drop-In Club and participates in their Quilting and Knitting programs, making crafts for the annual fall season Century House Craft Sale & Tea. As a newcomer to New Westminster, Christine says that Century House has been the best way to meet new people and make new friends.

If you can't wait until fall to support Century House, the Century House Thrift Sale is coming up on March 28. If you have items to donate for the thrift sale, Century House is accepting them from Saturday, March 21 to noon Friday, March 27. 

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