On Steps for Life walk days in Calgary, as in other walk communities across Canada, volunteers mingle with Threads of Life family members, with community members and with sponsors. And it’s those moments that are the most memorable for Trevor Wieler, chairman of the Calgary walk committee.
“Seeing the families gathered together; knowing that we’ve made the impact on a personal side for those families, and that we’re making a difference” is the best part of being a volunteer for Threads of Life,” Trevor says.
2019 will be the fourth Steps for Life walk for Trevor. He first learned of the event when the Calgary Regional Safety Committee of the Alberta Construction Safety Association sent out a call for volunteers.
“I planned to attend one meeting,” he says, but something just clicked. Trevor has coped with the death of his own young child, so he has an understanding of grief and loss, whether at home or on the job. “Our child was meant to grow up and experience life,” he says. “I didn’t want families to be impacted by tragedy without knowing somebody was there for them.”
As a safety advisor in the utility infrastructure industry, the health and safety commitment at the heart of Steps for Life appeals to Trevor. He thinks the nature of the resource-based economy in the Calgary area, with its range of high-risk hazards, means that the cause resonates with many other people too. He has seen Calgary’s walk grow into one of the top Steps for Life events in the country (the number one fundraiser in 2018!).
The volunteers on the Calgary organizing committee keep Trevor motivated and inspired. Calgary Steps for Life’s secret is the “no-quit attitude” of the committee, he says. “If they get a ‘no’ they turn it into a ‘yes’,” he says. “I don’t know how they do it.”
The committee puts a focus on education, taking the time to make sure people understand what the walk is all about, he adds. That way, even businesses that can’t make a monetary donation help by giving supplies or services, and know they’re contributing to making things better for families affected by tragedy.
Trevor also volunteers for the Alberta Children’s Hospital, and participates on industry committees and organizations, but Steps for Life is his major volunteer commitment. Calgary will continue to strive to be the best walk, he says, but what’s really important to him is that all the walk communities challenge each other and learn from each other. All Steps for Life volunteers share the same goals, Trevor says, of supporting families and preventing future tragedies. To that end, “we’d like to see it that all the walks succeed!”