Vernon, BC - Wednesday, June 19, 2019
Canada Day contest recognizes volunteers who drive to help Canadians in need
Together, the contest entrants drove 566,000 kilometres in the last year alone to help people in need—single moms needing a ride to radiation treatment, seniors awaiting a warm, healthy meal, and youth with different abilities participating in social activities. This Canada Day, Kal Tire celebrates everyday Canadians hitting the road to help other Canadians.
Kal Tire’s Road Heroes Contest is recognizing and awarding prizes to eight deserving volunteers and their volunteer organizations. While these driving volunteers help make our communities go ‘round, all that time on the road takes a toll on their vehicles and tires.
“We were amazed at the stories and efforts of the volunteers who drive to help people in need in Canada,” says Kevin McCarty, senior specialist, Corporate Social Responsibility, Kal Tire.
“They give so much of their time and they’re such a vital part of our communities. We wanted to support them and help make it easier for them to continue doing this important work.”
Many of the contest nominees are seniors themselves and have been a volunteer driver for more than 10 years—some for more than 35 years—and have collectively logged a distance equivalent to driving from Vancouver to Halifax and back 46 times.
Three top prizes were awarded:
- Trevor West; Edmonton, AB; Canadian Cancer Society’s Wheels of Hope
- Randy Scharf; Richmond, BC; Health & Home Care Society of BC (Meals on Wheels)
- Diane Thompson; Dunsford, ON; Community Care Health & Care Network
These three winners each enjoy a prize package for their personal vehicle that includes a new set of tires, a wheel alignment, oil changes for a year, summer and winter wiper blades, a brake replacement and a $500 donation to their volunteer organization.
West, Scharf and Thompson’s stories are featured in a moving but fun video alongside Canada’s social media superstar Brittlestar. Brittlestar’s videos have been viewed by more than 500 million people.
Five runner up prizes were also awarded:
- Wendy Ireland; Surrey, BC; The Volunteer Cancer Drivers Society
- Peter Simpson; Surrey, BC; The Volunteer Cancer Drivers Society
- Barbara Gray; Calgary, AB; Canadian Cancer Society
- George Spence; Kingston, Ontario; Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB)
- Joe Hall; Milton, Ontario; Canadian Cancer Society’s Wheels of Hope
These five runner-up winners each enjoy a new set of tires and a wheel alignment for their personal vehicle and a $500 donation to their volunteer organization.
Diane Thompson, who has been a volunteer driver in the Lindsay, ON area for 30 years, is 78 years old and logged 17,500 km in the last year. She was a foster mom for 40 years and began driving people to treatment at Toronto hospitals not long after her mother got cancer, and as a way to have a break from the house.
“At first it was a way to be around adults and go places I would never go, like Toronto, but I found it so rewarding to help my community,” says Thompson. “It does help your inner self to know you’ve done something good for someone, and I didn’t ever want to give up that feeling.”
Edmontonian Trevor West was an unlikely survivor of myeloid sarcoma, and says his struggle with cancer led him to help patients in need after his recovery.
“If I can make someone laugh for 20 minutes and get them to their appointment in a nice vehicle, I’ve done my job.”
Randy Scharf logs almost 270 km each week heading from Richmond’s Meals on Wheels kitchen to the streets of Vancouver’s Eastside so seniors can enjoy a warm, healthy meal.
“You do see some tough things in that area but I’ve found they’re very nice people and they care a lot about their community. Helping to make sure people have food to eat is something that’s always been important to me.”
“Each of these drivers was so deserving and incredibly humble. They were most thrilled that their organization would receive a donation and that speaks to their selflessness and sense of community,” says McCarty. “We’re very fortunate in Canada to have volunteers like these among us, and we hope this contest encourages others to make a difference as a volunteer driver.”