People volunteer for a number of reasons, in various ways, and with countless groups and organization.
Some people begin volunteering and enjoy it so much, they go elsewhere to volunteer; others get involved with a group or organization and stay truly committed to them.
The Thorne family of Grand Falls-Windsor is a volunteering family, with more than 70 years of volunteering under their belts combined.
Denise Thorne is a familiar face to anyone who visits the gift shop at the Central Newfoundland Regional Health Centre in Grand Falls-Windsor - this is her 35th year volunteering there.
“I started in September of 1977. I was five,” she said jokingly, adding she was actually in high school when she started volunteering there. “I was in Rangers and we were doing our Duke of Edinburgh Award program. I needed volunteer work. My aunt was involved in the hospital auxiliary in the gift shop at the time so she got me to go up with her.”
And 35 years later, she is still there.
“I enjoy it,” she said when asked why she has been involved for so long. “It’s something to do, something different, and you meet all kinds of people. Another reason I volunteer is because I know that it’s a good cause up to the gift shop. All the money we raise goes towards buying new equipment for the hospital which if we didn’t raise it, a lot of the equipment they wouldn’t be able to get.”
She is a longtime member of the Central Newfoundland Hospital Auxiliary.
“I got my lifetime membership through the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Hospital Auxiliaries a couple years ago,” she said.
At the same time she began volunteer work with the hospital auxiliary, she got involved in the Scout movement, and was involved for 21 years.
“I did 10 years of Beavers, six years as a Cub leader, then four years of group committee, and I went back one year for Beavers,” she said.
Her husband, Ed Thorne, is also no stranger to the Scouting movement.
“Originally I started helping out the leaders when I got out of high school in 1977,” he said, adding he got involved in his own club under his Scout leader, John (Jack) Sheppard. “I was a Cub and a Scout and a Venture.
“I gave up for a couple of years and then I went back with the 2nd Salvation Army in Grand Falls for a couple of years. My job at the time threw a monkey wrench into that because I was out of town Thursdays to Mondays, and they met Thursday nights.”
He said he saw an advertisement in a church flyer that said the Cubs were looking for a leader on a weeknight.
“The rest is history,” he said. “That was 1986. I went to Stephenville in 1994 to do my cooking course and I got involved in the Cub pack over there for the year I was over there. I came back and just continued on where I left off.”
He has been the assistant district commissioner for Cubs, and district commissioner before they changed from districts to areas.
Most of his time in the 4th Grand Falls Cubs was spent as head leader. He was group committee for the past three or four years, and two years ago he went back to being a leader.
“Currently I have a Cub who is the son of one of my old Cubs,” he said.
Also for the past 13 years, he has been involved in the cadet program.
He said he came up through Sea Cadets from 1973-1983, seven years as a cadet and three as an instructor.
In 1999, a former Cubs leader contacted him asking if he would get involved in Air Cadets.
He is the marksmanship coach for the 842 Bomber Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron of Grand Falls-Windsor.
The couple’s son, Mike, is now 28. He went up through Beavers, Cubs and Scouts and then was leader for five years as well.
And though their son has been out of the Scouts movement for a number of years, Ed is staying put.
“I just enjoy it,” he said. “The bottom line is I just enjoy working with the kids.”