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Local man to receive Volunteer Award

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A loving and supportive spouse is the cornerstone of several successful volunteers.

Transcona resident Peter McCarthy knows this well, crediting his wife, Joanne, with understanding and helping to hold down the fort while he gave time and effort to various organizations.

McCarthy said getting ready for summer helping out with the Boy Scouts of Winnipeg by going to set up at Camp Alloway on Big Whiteshell Lake, meant being away every Mother’s Day, which fell on the first weekend of the season.

"She put up with a lot of me not (being) there, but it still worked out," said McCarthy.

For his work with the Boy Scouts, and numerous other organizations, McCarthy will receive the Mayor’s Volunteer Service Award later this month after being nominated by his son, Shawn.

He said dealing with youth particularly stands out in his memory.

"I enjoyed working with the kids, passing along knowledge to the kids," he said. "You see how they come along if you have them for three or four years, how they mature and grow up.

"Sometimes, you end up like a father to them, likely because they don’t have a father."

McCarthy, who emigrated to Canada from the United Kingdom in 1951, grew up in St. James and moved to Transcona in 1975. He worked with the CNR Shops for over 30 years before retiring in 2008.

McCarthy also served with Habitat for Humanity for 25 years doing electrical work and later heading up his own team. He took his expertise to New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, where he helped lend a hand in the community.

As well, McCarthy was heavily involved in sports, serving as the Transcona Nationals’ equipment manager and medical trainer in the late 1980s and early 1990s before working with the Transcona Railers from 2000 to 2011. He also volunteered at the Pan American Games in 1999 and at the Tim Hortons Brier in 2008.

While working with the Nationals, McCarthy once treated an injured opponent on the field, and went above and beyond, accompanying the player and his father to St. Boniface Hospital.

McCarthy said one of the biggest things he’s learned in his time volunteering, often in a leadership role, is how to slot each gung-ho individual into a fulfilling and safe role.

"You have to be a person who can gauge what people can do," he said. "You don’t want to throw them into using a saw, because they could injure themselves."

McCarthy, who currently suffers from mesothelioma, caused by asbestos in the lungs, will receive the award on April 24 at Volunteer Manitoba’s 30th annual Volunteer Awards at the Winnipeg Convention Centre.

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