The search for the country's top senior volunteer has begun and, with any luck, that individual may very well be residing in South Surrey or White Rock.
With the region playing host to such a large senior population, White Rock-based Home Instead Senior Care is hopeful the top honouree for the Salute to Senior Service program will be someone local.
"I think the number-one thing is the fact that there's a huge number of seniors here," said Jo-Ann Martin of Home Instead's White Rock location. "A lot of people think that once you're a senior you're just supposed to go away, but they are much younger than they used to be and they get out there and volunteer and they're a huge part of the volunteer population we have."
Hosted by Home Instead Inc., Senior Care's parent company, the Salute to Senior Service program honours anyone over the age of 65 who volunteer at least 15 hours a month in their communities.
There are two stages of the program, with one person from each province being selected before a national honouree is chosen from amongst said group. Those chosen to represent their provinces stand to be awarded $500 to a charity of their choice, while the national winner will receive $5,000 to a charity of their choosing.
And while the awards are a chance for people to earn some extra funding for charity, Martin is hoping people will see it as a way to honour those who devote so much time to their communities.
"There are some organizations that could not function without the volunteers here," she said. "There are a lot of recreation centres that rely on senior volunteers and if it weren't for them, those places would not be able to operate. The seniors are now in a position where they can give back and so it's time to recognize them."
Anyone interested in submitting nominations have until March 31 to do so. For nomination packages, go to www.SalutetoSeniorService.com.