"Without volunteers, communities would look pretty bleak."

Those are the words of Lisa Baldwin as she explains the vital role that volunteers play in our communities.

Baldwin is Manager of Recreation and Community Services for the Rural Municipality of Hanover. She says it has become a tradition the last few years to present community volunteer awards. Each community has the opportunity to nominate individuals and then the winner is announced at each summer festival.

This year's winners are Ashley Wiebe in Grunthal, Johnny and Hilda Hildebrandt in Kleefeld, Val Barkman in Blumenort, Jake Banman in New Bothwell and Candice Dueck in Mitchell.

"We are so lucky," says Baldwin. "In Hanover, we have a lot of dedicated volunteers."

Baldwin says the tough part is getting nominations. She notes volunteers are a group that give their time for the betterment of their community, not for recognition. Yet, she refers to them as the heart of their community. She says they are the ones who run programs and keep recreational facilities operational.

(Ashley Wiebe presented award from Councillor Henry Funk)

(Johnny and Hilda Hildebrandt presented award from Councillor Gord Meneer and board member Nicole Rempel)

(Val Barkman is wearing black and white shirt)

(Jake Banman presented award from Councillor Pete Hiebert)

(Candice Dueck presented award from Councillor Bernie Stahn)

Photo credit: Lisa Baldwin