The Beaver Valley Citizen of the Year Committee has recognized Mary Ann and Charles Pengelly as the recipients of the 2023 award, which recognizes outstanding volunteer contribution to the Beaver Valley.
The committee says the Pengellys, who have lived in Fruitvale since 1981, exemplify those qualities. “They quietly spend a majority of their time helping others and getting others involved,” they wrote. “This couple’s spirit of volunteerism is an inspiration to our community.” The award presentation and reception will be at the Beaver Valley Curling Rink on Friday at 7 p.m., followed by the Beaver Valley May Days Fireworks.
We spoke to the Pengellys this week.
What do you think about being named Citizens of the Year?
Charles: Very honored to be recognized like that. We’ve tried to work in the community with our family including our kids when they were younger, so to be recognized like that is a great honour.
What sorts of things have you been involved in?
Mary Ann: I did the Knights of Pythias telethon. We were in scouting. I was on the board of the scouts. Friends of the Library. I do the Christmas hampers, breakfast with Santa, Beaver Valley thrift shop. We built all-new shelving and got the thrift shop to the next stage in their new place.
Charles: Christmas hampers we worked with the United Way. Before that it was the Community Chest for 25 years. I was on the St. Michael’s school board, the library board, and now I’m on the co-op board and curling board as well as trying to help anyone who comes along who could use our help and can’t afford to hire someone to do it.
Does volunteerism come naturally to you or is there a reason why you are such strong community volunteers?
Charles: Just something that comes natural. If you see somebody who needs a hand, whether it’s a community group or a neighbour, you step out there and help.
Mary Ann: If somebody needs something, we provide it. We collect cans and what-not, so if I have somebody in need I’ve got money to hand out or purchase what they need. We do all kinds of woodworking so if someone needs a dresser we try to provide that.
What do you like best about living in the Beaver Valley?
Charles: The community is really good. The neighbours, the friends we’ve made out here. The area, the trees, the lifestyle.
Mary Ann: It’s amazing the people that stand up. It’s easy to get volunteers. We never seem to have too much problem getting help.
Has it always been like that?
Charles: I think it’s been like that pretty well the whole time. People love to be able to help when there’s a need.
Anything else you would like to add about this honor?
Mary Ann: I was blown away. The first thing I said was “Why?” After it sunk in a bit, it’s a great to be recognized for the things we’ve done over the years.
Charles: It’s a great honor to be recognized. We love being able to help people and join groups that are helping. It feels so good.