Swift Current resident Mitch Minken has received the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers in recognition of his dedication to an organization that grants wishes to children with a life-threatening illness.
His other volunteer work to develop curling is also acknowledged with this medal, which is part of the Canadian Honours System and administered through the office of the Governor General of Canada.
He has been involved with the Children’s Wish Foundation since 2009. He is serving in his eighth year as a member of the national board of directors and he is currently the board’s vice chair.
“This has been a very fulfilling experience getting to be part of a very, very magic organization that provides the heartfelt wishes for children with life-threatening situations,” he said. “So being part of that is certainly a reward in itself.”
He noted that it is an uplifting experience on a personal level to participate in the work of the Children’s Wish Foundation.
“I got to meet a lot of really strong kids and families that are going through some pretty tough times and to be able to provide a little joy in their lives and also being able to help with their treatment,” he said. “We’ve had an impact study done that shows that the anticipation of the wish and the execution of the wish actually makes up a really big part of the treatment procedures, and really helps towards the healing of those kids. So it does your heart a lot of good when you know that you’re a part of that and what you’ve done for those kids and families.”
He has been involved with curling development during the past decade through the Swift Current Curling Club and his role in CurlSask and Curling Canada.
He carried out various duties with CurlSask during the past years, initially as the coordinator for the southwest region and then as a member of the board of directors. He has served as vice-president and for the last two years as board president.
He said it was a really rewarding experience to carry out the duties of the CurlSask board president.
“I had the opportunity obviously to help shape where the organization is going, but I also had the opportunity to attend a ton of events and meet so many great people from right across this province,” he mentioned. “It’s an amazing privilege to be able to serve in that capacity.”
It gave him an opportunity to witness the excitement of curlers who have achieved success on the ice during competitions.
“Some of the greatest memories is handing that first green jacket to provincial champions, particularly in the younger age categories, and the absolute joy that they were feeling as they had just won a provincial championship and knew that they were going on to represent Saskatchewan at a national championship,” he said. “That’s a pretty powerful privilege.”
Minken, who is the general manager for infrastructure and operations at the City of Swift Current, was unable to attend the official award ceremony in Ottawa. The medal was therefore presented to him by Swift Current Mayor Denis Perrault on behalf of the Governor General at a regular council meeting, June 3.
“So it was a very, very special opportunity for me as well too, since I work with the mayor and council so much, that it was a great opportunity to have the mayor being able to present that on the Governor General’s behalf,” he said.
He encouraged everyone to give volunteering a try and to enjoy the personal reward of that experience.
“It pays back so much,” he said. “In the little bit you do you’ll get paid back tenfold in the feeling you get for being part of that volunteering experience.”
He noted that there is a good spirit of volunteering in Swift Current, and the many events in the city will not be possible without the contribution of all those residents who volunteer their time.
“Those things wouldn’t happen without volunteers,” he said. “So we absolutely need volunteers to participate in events and I think that’s Saskatchewan, that’s Swift Current. People get behind stuff and it really speaks to the community fabric. Everybody gets to know one another. Everybody supports one another in what they’re doing. It just makes for a great community.”