Bert and Doris Dinsmore during their small, socially distanced celebration in the backyard of their Upland Estates home last week. The two are the 2020 winners of the Oak Bay Volunteer Services annual award and also earned the Oak Bay Oak Leaf, as presented by the mayor. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)

Oak Bay couple honoured for 35 years volunteering

Mayor awards distinguished Oak Leaf to Bert and Doris Dinsmore

Things change after 35 years and for the Dinsmores, Bert and Doris, volunteering has been an evolution.

The couple was honoured with Oak Bay Volunteer Services’ annual recognition award for 2020 on Sept. 16. It was a small celebration in the garden of their Oak Bay home, small enough that Bert cracked a surprise bottle of champagne as it was also their 38th wedding anniversary.

The two were also presented with the Oak Bay Oak Leaf, as presented by Mayor Kevin Murdoch. Oak Bay council also sent a framed photograph of the ocean off Oak Bay.

READ ALSO: Vancouver Island volunteers checking in on seniors during pandemic

“We have met a lot of fine people and were able to help in so many different ways,” said Bert, who has been most passionate about helping elders with their gardens.

Throughout their time the couple held all sorts of roles. Doris twice sat as chair of the Oak Bay Volunteer Services executive board, a five-year term each time. She also served her 35 years in the office. The two still put in time despite Doris’ limited mobility and are now ambassadors of Oak Bay Volunteer Services.

The ceremony was a small, socially distanced gathering in the backyard of their Upland Estates home.

“Our volunteer celebrations are usually a big event so it had to be a quaint and intimate affair this year, but we wanted to make sure you were recognized,” said OBVS executive director Renee Lormé-Gulbrandsen.

Bert told the story of one of his first volunteer sessions. He showed up to help an Oak Bay senior who had asked for help packing a few things up.

READ MORE: Young volunteers clean Vancouver Island beaches

It was his first lesson on the balance of staying true to what Oak Bay Volunteer Services can offer, and the limits to what can be done.

“When I got inside, there were piles of newspapers all the way up the stairs,” he said. “She was a hoarder.”

When he got to the back garden, it was chest high and overgrown.

“When I came back the next week, I said, ‘I’m sorry, but Oak Bay Volunteer Services can’t help you with this [garden],’” he recalled. “You need a bulldozer.”

Bert helped dozens, if not hundreds of Oak Bay residents with getting their gardens started in the spring. It was something he took extra joy in and still does.

“We met a lot of really nice people.”

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.

reporter@oakbaynews.com

oak bay

Just Posted

A disposable but improperly discarded face mask sits on a wall outside a downtown Salmon Arm business. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)
Editorial: Don’t like using disposable masks, go reusable

Others shouldn’t have to pick up improperly discarded face masks

Police closed McNeill Avenue after a workplace death Oct. 20, 2020. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Tree-pruning community gathers in Oak Bay after tragic death

Crews met in solidarity at site of Tuesday incident

Members of the Sipekne’katik First Nation load lobster traps on the wharf in Saulnierville, N.S., after launching its own self-regulated fishery on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Vancouver Island First Nations back Nova Scotia’s Indigenous lobster fishermen

Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council calls for action before lives are lost

Sails down, masks up for Ron and Sherry Pryde, who completed a 119 day journey that was supposed to be 70 days. (Zoe Ducklow)
Coast Guard towed rudderless sailors to Port Hardy hours before a powerful storm

Rudderless for a month, the couple zigzagged most the way home with “a few donuts and lazy-eights”

Police in Nanaimo are looking for a woman who allegedly threw hot coffee on a McDonald’s employee. (News Bulletin photo)
UPDATE: Nanaimo RCMP still looking for woman who threw coffee at worker after already receiving refund

Police asking for information in investigation that could lead to assault charges

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry presents modelling of COVID-19 spread in B.C., March 25, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 203 new cases

up to 1,766 active cases in B.C., two more deaths

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
British Columbia man dies during ski trip near glacier west of Calgary

Kananaskis Public Safety and Alpine Helicopters responded around 2:30 p.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, following a week-long break for the House of Commons. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
One crisis after another for Trudeau since last federal election one year ago

It has been a year of unprecedented calamity and crisis

BC Greens leader Sonia Furstenau says British Columbians face a choice between “false majority government” and a “more cooperative, collaborative” form of governance during a campaign stop in Saanich North and the Islands Monday (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
BC Greens leader makes pitch for minority government

Sonia Furstenau calls on British Columbians to reject ‘false majority government’

The Saanich Teachers’ Association is calling on the local provincial election candidates from all parties to commit to making schools healthier and safer for all. (Black Press Media file photo)
Saanich teachers call on election candidates for improved health, safety in schools

Increased funding, reduced class sizes among required changes, says association president

Skiers line up to start the Royal LePage Comox Valley Snow to Surf Adventure Relay Race. Photo by Tim Penney
Popular Comox Valley adventure race cancelled for 2021

COVID forces Comox Valley Royal LePage Snow to Surf Adventure Relay Race cancellation again

Chris Istace campaigning in Crofton. (Photo submitted)
Green Party’s Istace apologizes for remark about First Nations gaming grants being a ‘handout’

Island candidate determined to do better in thinking and communicating matters of reconciliation

Rio Tinto Alcan’s aluminum smelter at Kitimat competes against producers in the Middle East and Russia that have no carbon tax. (Rio Tinto)
B.C. carbon tax highest in Canada, export industries unprotected

B.C. NDP, B.C. Liberals say they’re looking at exemptions

Most Read