For Greg Aiken, giving back to the community is just a natural part of living in 100 Mile House.
The 100 Mile House Wranglers’ president came here in 1979 after playing in the BC Hockey League for Merrit from ‘76 to ‘79. He spent his last season playing in 100 Mile House, where he met a girl in the community and decided to settle down and raise a family with her shortly after.
Over the years Aiken worked in different auto parts shops before becoming self-employed. Along the way, he volunteered: he has been involved with the Canadian Cancer Society, Relay For Life, looked after the Men’s Hockey Team from 1980 to 1985, ran the 100 Mile Bears from 1999 to 2007 and helped organize Dry Grad, among others.
“When I was a kid playing minor sports there were always people giving their time volunteering so I just kind of got that from my parents and coaches. As you get to be an adult you figure it’s your time to give back as well,” Aiken said.
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One of his favourite moments of living in 100 Mile House was when the Wranglers won the 2016 Western Canada Cup. But just living in a town where everyone is so friendly and has each other’s backs is the best part, he said, as everyone always chips in if someone gets in trouble.
Despite the ups and downs from mill closures, scarce employment and the wildfires, the town remains resilient and always seems to pull through.
“Everybody supports each other in this town, it’s just fantastic and it’s been like that ever since I’ve been here for 40 some years,” said Aiken said.
His volunteerism is driven by desire to give back to the community and he hopes to inspire that same feeling in others. He hopes children who see him doing this will grow up to do the same and one day support those who supported them.
“Support for every event that goes on, that’s what volunteers do. You’re giving your time for free to make any event a success, it doesn’t matter what event it is or what team you’re helping out or which kids,” Aiken said. “Our volunteer numbers in 100 Mile have to be astronomical from all the events we’ve held. There never seems to be a shortage of people to help out, that’s what’s great about our town.”
While he’s only been president of the Wranglers for a few months, Aiken has been vice-president from the start and said the biggest thing that helps them succeed is the support they get from the community. They bring players from all across Western Canada and do their best to mould them into better people, better citizens and hopefully better hockey players, he said. As they get them at a formative age, from 16 to 19, Aiken said this chance to guide them is especially special.
Aiken encourages everyone in 100 Mile House to get involved and volunteer for something they’re passionate about.
“It’s tough with the pandemic shutting all the events down but hopefully everybody will just pick it up again when things start to return to whatever normal is going to be,” Aiken said. “Don’t ever forget these events still need support and volunteers. Don’t give up on being a volunteer.”