More than two decades of generosity to the community were recognized on Monday as Harold Wallace was presented with the City of Duncan’s Scroll of Honour.
The longtime Cowichan Valley funeral director, who operated H.W. Wallace Cremation and Burial Centre, has donated countless funds and hours to dozens of projects, foundations, efforts and events in the area, and city council rewarded him at its annual awards night with one of its highest honours. As he presented Wallace with the award, Coun. John Horgan called him “one of the most generous guys in the city.”
“Volunteering in town is just something I do,” Wallace said. “I never expect anything back for it. I always want to be giving back, so I give my time.”
Among Wallace’s most visible tangible contributions to the community, he donated the bronze plaque on the City of Duncan’s time capsule, and has also donated all the bronze memorial plaques on furniture purchased by the Hospital Foundation that sits outside Cowichan District Hospital.
Wallace is a longtime member of the Kiwanis Club, the Elks and the Duncan Community Lodge (formerly the Moose Lodge), and has served as president of the Duncan Legion and the Shriners. This year, he will serve as B.C. Potentate for the Shriners.
“I’m quite humbled,” Wallace said. “I have a lot of good friends who have received this award. I’m in good company.”
Originally from Newfoundland, Wallace has spent the last 26 years in the Cowichan Valley, and he plans to keep volunteering and giving back for years to come.
“Quitting isn’t part of my vocabulary,” he said. “As long as I can do it, I’ll keep doing it.”
The 2017 Perpetual Arts Trophy went to Peter Yelland, who has filled numerous roles in the Cowichan Valley’s music community over more than half a century.
Yelland has been a music teacher, tenor soloist and director of several choirs, in addition to sitting on boards for the Duncan Music Club, Cowichan Musical Society and South Island Musical Theatre Society, serving as principal organizer of Cowichan Chorofest, and represented the Cowichan Valley at the BC Choral Federation.
“I’m flattered to think all my effort did not go unnoticed,” Yelland said. “I didn’t do it for those reasons.”
Yelland got his start in the music community in 1959 when his women’s choir from Lake Cowichan High School won first place at the Cowichan Music Festival, and continued until last Christmas, when an illness forced him to back out of directing the Cowichan Musical Society’s production of Oliver!
Along with his award, Yelland was presented on Monday with a copy of an album that one of his choirs, the Polyphonic Singers, recorded decades ago and which turned up recently in city hall archives. Yelland was pleasantly surprised to receive it.
“We attempted some very, very tough stuff,” he recalled.
The 2017 Perpetual Sports Award went to 15-year-old track and field athlete Tony Else.
In just two years in the sport, Else has risen quickly up the ranks, and qualified this past summer for the Canadian Legion National Track and Field Competition in Brandon, Manitoba despite battling several minor injuries. He placed sixth in Canada in his age group in shot put and 10th in high jump, recording personal bests in both. He also put together a relay team with three other B.C. athletes, who had never before competed together, that went on to win a surprise silver medal.
Else hopes to move into decathlon competition next season. Despite his many turns in the spotlight on the track and in the field, He admitted he was nervous accepting the city’s award, and was relieved to get it over with.
“I thought it would be a lot more anxiety-producing than it was,” he admitted.
In other city business conducted on Monday, three members of the Duncan Volunteer Fire Department were sworn in to new positions: Ronald Olson as deputy chief, Wray Watson as assistant chief, and Leanne Closson as captain.