As soon he arrived in Lone Butte in 1956, Alan Boyd was put to work volunteering.
It started with the old Lone Butte Community Hall, where his sister – the late Sheila McMillan and her husband Jim – were already members. “The floor needed sanding and refinishing so a bunch of us got together and did that,” said Boyd, 82. “It just went from there.”
Boyd, who had moved to the area from North Vancouver, started working for McMillan Contracting doing minor repairs and lube jobs on the logging trucks before becoming the planer foreman – a job he held for 21 years until the McMillans sold out to Ainsworth.
During that time, he immersed himself in every project in Lone Butte, from helping to build the water tower to becoming leader of the first Lone Butte Cub Pack. His volunteerism expanded to include sitting on the Hospital Board for 13 years and becoming chairman of the project building committee for the Fischer Place Health Centre in 100 Mile House – “probably my biggest achievement.”
Even after he married his wife Janet, had his son and two daughters and changed jobs – he and his brother-in-law Ralph Larum started Gemini Services to fabricate sawmill components before getting into logging – he never stopped giving back. Even now, he is treasurer of Mt. Begbie Masonic Lodge #183 and vice-president of the independent Watch Lake-North Green Lake Volunteer Fire Department Association.
“I’m a life member of the Community Club and the (Lone Butte) Historical Group too,” Boyd said. “It’s just kind of in the blood. My son wondered if I ever worked.”
His accomplishments over the years have earned Boyd many accolades over the years – from Citizen of the Year in 1999 to a Community Award in 2010 and a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012.
And he’s “still at it.” Indeed, Boyd was out Monday fixing the siding on the Watch Lake-Green Lake’s Sonny Johnson Hall, which recently received a brand-new fire truck. He noted the association was in the hole in 2009 but is now sitting fairly pretty with $1.5 million in assets.
The firefighting association collects neighbourhood dues used to pay the heat, lights and insurance, and Boyd credits the finances with lottery grants for “being very good to us” as well as community support. Member Alan Watrich, he said, collected $10,000 in bottles and can recycling last year.
Boyd maintains volunteering is a small price to pay for living in such a beautiful space. He and his family lived in Lone Butte until 2004 before moving to North Green Lake. In his off-time, he would spend his time water-skiing, although now he leaves that up to his grandchildren – his son and one of his daughters live nearby, while the other one is in Fort St. John. These days he still snowmobiles and quads in the winter and “we’ve become grand-dog sitters quite often.”
“(The South Cariboo) is changing. Originally the people were very down-to-earth types,” he said. “We’re being inundated with a new community with a whole different view of what life should be. But they are attracted to the Cariboo too. Maybe we can settle on values that work for all of us.”
He hopes more of them will step up and volunteer.
“There seem to be fewer volunteers and more work,” he said. “There are fewer of us who do it out here and in Green Lake. We have a pretty solid group but everyone gets up there. We’d like to smell the roses, the coffee, whatever.”