Community service takes dedication and passion, qualities Elsie Babcock has in spades.
Born in Durham, Ontario on November 17, 1933, Babcock met her husband Garry on a blind date set up by his sister before eventually getting married in 1960. When they moved to 100 Mile House in 1967, Babock got involved in the fledgling 100 Mile District General Hospital Auxiliary – serving in every position, except that of secretary. After almost six decades, she’s still there because it’s something she likes to do.
“I’m not a good person at staying home every day in and out, so I wanted something else to do,” Babcock said.
Babcock, 87, went on to volunteer with the 100 Mile House Community Club, the 100 Mile House and District Historical Society, helped run a blood donation clinic for the Red Cross in the 70s and 80s and volunteered with Loaves and Fishes.
In 2012, she and her late husband Garry were named Citizen of the Year. She also helped out at her church, Cariboo Christian Life Fellowship, doing their books for them. At the same time, she was raising her sons, Michael and Robert, and daughter, Elizabeth.
“I enjoy volunteering because it’s something that I feel is giving of myself. In the beginning, it was to get out of the house but then it was a thing that came naturally, I really like to do it,” Babcock said. “It gives you a sense of worth.”
When she wasn’t volunteering or driving her children to various activities, Babcock spent time doing crafts golfing at the 108 Mile Resort. She and her husband also ran their own store in the 1980s that sold prospecting equipment like gold pans, metal detectors and rock jewellery.
Babcock said you have to stay active to keep your mind and body going as you get older. If you don’t, “you’re not going to last long,” she said. Although she still drives, she likes to get out and walk whenever she can to get a little exercise and sunshine.
Before her husband died in 2018, the two of them also travelled to Australia and other places on their bucket list, something they both enjoyed. Babcock said she’s thankful her children and stepchildren continue to support her and knows that if she calls, they’ll come.
“You have to have a sense of belonging. Since Garry passed away on November 18, 2018, I’ve had so many good friends, people that I know, come around and see how I’m doing. That’s what I like about being in a small town is that people are interested in how you’re doing.”