“I remember a speaking engagement I did right before Christmas for a local construction  company,” Diana Devine says.“They were a group of workers gathered in their lunchroom that had come to hear my story. It made me think of my Dad and how much he enjoyed the comradeship of working with people and I could just picture him sitting there at lunch making jokes and laughing with his co-workers. It also made me sad because I know my Dad will never get to do that again.”

This favourite volunteer moment reconfirms why Diana volunteers with Threads of Life, as a member of the speakers bureau and a passionate fundraiser. She strives to help and impact other families who are going through similar events in their lives.

“Hopefully with all the speaking I have been doing, I too can try to raise awareness and help prevent future fatalities or injuries at the workplace,” Diana explains.

Diana’s father Ulderico, known to all as Rico, was working on a job site on Parliament Hill when the backhoe he was operating suddenly engaged, propelling the machine forward. The backhoe wouldn’t turn off and bounced several times. It went through a concrete wall and fell over the high embankment behind the parliamentary library. He was killed instantly. At 65 Rico could have retired but he enjoyed his work so much that he chose to continue.

Diana, like so many others, learned about Threads of Life through a family member or a friend, in this case her sister. At the time of her father’s death, she didn’t personally use the services that Threads of Life had to offer, but her sister shared a newsletter that inspired Diana to pick up the phone and connect with Threads of Life. That was in 2007, and the rest is history as she says.

In addition to joining the speaker’s bureau and making numerous presentations, Diana has been running the Ottawa Marathon in her dad’s memory while raising money for Threads of Life. To date she has raised close to $19,000 and looks forward to reaching the $20,000 mark. To Diana, running the marathons has been a small way of showing that with hard work and determination you can do anything in life. She is not sure how many more marathons she will run but whatever she chooses to do to raise money and workplace safety awareness will show her family the benefits of hard work and how far that takes you in life.

“This was my Dad’s motto, and I hope that my own children will have this way of thinking and acting in their futures,” she says.

Diana enjoys many other volunteer activities, including staying involved with her children’s schools, helping with their BBQs, attending field trips, and assisting in the classrooms.

“I think it’s important to give back to your community because you just never know when you may need a helping hand in life.”

This article was originally published in the Fall 2015 newsletter.

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Diana with her dad, Rico
Heather Lyle