Volunteering has always been an important part of Steve Conway’s life. It took on a whole new importance when he met his future wife, Linda, while volunteering with a disabled skiing program at Canadian Olympic Park in Calgary.
“It’s a good way to meet like-minded people,” Conway said.
It’s a group of like-minded people that Conway now works with at the Golden Food Bank, where he volunteers by packing hampers every Wednesday and helps with various pickups as needed. He recalls a time last winter when he assisted in salvaging food from a rolled over truck in -25 degree weather. It’s not an uncommon part of his work with the food bank.
“You’ve gotta give back some ways and this is one of the better ways,” he said.
Conway briefly held a position on the Food Bank’s board, but quickly realized that simply wasn’t the job for him.
“I like to stay in the basement (packing hampers)…I spent two meetings on the board and said ‘no, I belong in the basement,” he said. “Some people got to run things and some people have got to be the worker bees. I’m always better as a worker.”
Volunteering has also remained a big part of Linda’s life, as the former teacher now helps with children’s reading programs at Golden area schools and both volunteer with the Nordic Club.
“My wife and I never had kids so a lot of the volunteer stuff we do is with kids so that’s always fun,” Conway said.
Conway also volunteers as a ski host at the resort, something that he calls “almost self-serving”.
There’s nothing self-serving about his work at the food bank, however, although it’s clear that Conway enjoys it for the camaraderie and the rewarding nature of his work.
“A lot of people need it. In the valley, if you talk to people that live here forever, you hear more complaints about the food bank. People abuse this and people abuse that, but people abuse everything in life…you have to overlook that kind of stuff…almost all of the people that use it really need it,” Conway remarked.
“All it takes is for one person to abuse it and you hear people talk about it all the time and it’s wrong.”
Now retired from full-time work after 29 years with Telus as a technician, most might think Conway has a lot of time on his hands, but that’s not the case. In fact, Conway is as busy as ever.
“It’s funny, when people retire you think you have all the time in the world, every day we have is so booked up.”
And retirement can be especially busy when you give back in the manner that Steve Conway does.