April 15 to 21 is Volunteer Week in Canada. At Threads of Life we are grateful to our volunteers every day, but we make a special point of recognizing them during this week. Some of Threads of Life’s staff members took a moment to note what they most appreciate about our Threads of Life volunteers.

Volunteers give of their time and of their expertise. Threads of Life volunteers also give of their heart and do so with incredible generosity. The passion with which they strive to create change and awareness for workplace safety is tremendous. The difference that is made to new families struggling to find their way in a world shattered by workplace tragedy is immeasurable. Time and time again I hear our volunteers described as a lifeline. Never question that you are making a difference. – Kate Kennington

I had the privilege to co-present with one of our tremendous volunteers, Paulette Raymond. Paulette’s courage, compassion and commitment to Threads of Life and our mission is inspiring. She is a difference maker and I witnessed this first hand. Paulette shared her story of losing her brother Tommy to a workplace tragedy with the staff of WorkplaceNL. Paulette’s emotional presentation impacted all of us in the room.  She helped us to understand and motivated us to act, to ensure that every Canadian worker comes home healthy and safe.  I thank Paulette and all of our volunteers for leading and inspiring a culture shift, as a result of which work-related injuries, illnesses and deaths are morally, socially and economically unacceptable. – Scott McKay

I am always amazed with the volunteers of the Speakers Bureau who are willing to give their time to actually travel to other cities or provinces to share their story. Taking time away from their own families, jobs and homes to speak to strangers about the importance of workplace safety, and how their lives have been changed is such a generous act. It strikes me just how important the message is for the speakers that they are willing to share such a personal story over and over again, whenever they are asked to do so. I hope they realize how many lives they touch by doing this, and how grateful I am for their willingness to share. It is so important, and much appreciated. – Kelley Thompson

I’m so fortunate to be working with tremendous volunteers every day.  It’s exciting to see pure dedication and commitment from so many volunteers, such as those who make up the 2018 Calgary Steps for Life Planning Committee. These individuals have formed a solid foundation, with an exceptional approach for growth and with plans to become an even more impressive event in the future. Their enthusiasm, and hands-on attitude to get things done, is truly amazing! This group of volunteers is delivering a refreshing level of activity in their community and working closely with us to coordinate and capitalize on all of our efforts. Threads of Life is grateful for the efforts of these individuals whose support extends far beyond Steps for Life.  Thank you to all of our fantastic volunteers who support us in so many roles and in so many communities! Whether it’s planning an event or representing us at a trade show – we couldn’t do it without you. Thank You.  –Lynn Danbrook

For me, witnessing our volunteers through training sessions and then leading training at Family Forums, attending the speakers bureau and then speaking at Family Forums or Steps for Life events indicates to me how far our volunteers have grown individually and their impact on society…truly expressing our mission “to promote the elimination of life-altering workplace injuries, illnesses and deaths” by sharing their personal story. – Sharon Freeman

What I appreciate most about our volunteers is their gift of time.  No matter what is happening in their personal lives, they continue to help Threads of Life share the importance of workplace safety. Creating awareness while attending tradeshows, volunteering as a speaker/volunteer family guide, or participating and generating revenue for Steps for Life are all great examples.  None of this would be possible without the endless hours from our exceptional volunteers.  We thank you during this Volunteer Week and always for your hard work and dedication. –Kimberly Bondame

What I love most is to see our volunteers discover new talents, reveal the depth of their abilities, or find the strength to do something that scares them (like public speaking, or making a phone call to a new family member for the first time). Our volunteers amaze me – you are writers, speech-makers, marketers, advocates, organizers, facilitators, leaders, listeners, crafters, bakers, walkers, and of course, carers. You care for each other, you care for strangers. Thank you. – Susan Haldane

Our volunteers’ dedication, passion and heart are the life-blood of Threads of Life’s support for families after a workplace tragedy. Not only do they make our programs possible, they make the support we’re able to provide that much more meaningful. ‘Thank you’ never seems to say enough! – Sarah Wheelan

You are the voice for those who cannot speak. You are the voice that causes a tear to drop from the strong silent type – the type who think they are invincible. Your words may quiver with emotion, but the emotion is the heart of your story. When you bravely step outside your comfort zone and stand in front of strangers and share your most personal story, you do so with passion and commitment. If the heart is what keeps the body going, you are the heart of Threads of Life. Without your willingness to devote your time and energy on workplace injury prevention, Threads of Life would be at a loss on being a partner with the prevention systems. Employers trust you to open the ears, open the minds of their workers, so they can hear and comprehend the need to work safely, to watch out for their own safety, for the safety of their co-workers. You give the worker the courage to stand up and say to someone ‘watch out – do that right’. You do it with faith that you are making a difference. You do not know the life you saved, the life you changed. You do know that when you share your very personal story it is making a difference. You see it in the eyes of those sitting in front of you. Perhaps you are not the volunteer who shares their story; perhaps you are a volunteer family guide – one who has the open ears to listen. To listen to the pain and struggles similar to your own. You listen, as you know that by sharing, not only are you helping that family member, you are honouring your own pain. Threads of Life only exists for those two reasons – to listen, to share with others on a similar journey, and to share to be a part of the prevention message. I see your incredible strength as you nurture each other at family forums. I see your tears as you reflect on your story and the story of others. Whether you give an hour or are able to give twenty or more, every volunteer at Threads of Life is as valuable as the next. Together you are making a difference across Canada. You are the leaders in prevention. If you are living with occupational disease, a life-altering injury or the outcome of a fatality, you are the ones willing to stand, share your love and be there for others. Your heart hurts because you love. You give of yourself because you care.

–Shirley Hickman

Susan Haldane