The national Board of Directors of The Children’s Wish foundation of Canada has presented its sixth annual Laura Cole Volunteer of the Year Award to Gary and Silvia Peltier of Woodlands, Manitoba.
For more than two decades, the husband and wife team of Gary and Sylvia (Silver) Peltier has provided exemplary volunteer service and dedication to The Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada.
Joining the Children’s Wish volunteer team in the very early days of the Foundation, Gary and Silver did not hesitate to embrace the goals - and challenges - of this young organization. From the beginning, they believed that much potential for support lay within the rural communities of Manitoba and set out to establish their sub-chapter as the most successful in the province.
In 1988, the couple initiated the Annual Ride for a Child’s Wish, attracting 26 people and raising $750. In August 2008, the 20th Annual Ride for a Child’s Wish welcomed more than 800 visitors and raised $67,000, bringing the cumulative total to well over $700,000.
Now a focus of the Woodlands community, this event now incorporates a 10-mile pledged horse trail ride, wish auction, hay rides, poker derby, games and contests for children, live entertainment for all ages, a full dinner with chicken and pig roast, and an old fashioned dance under the stars. The event takes place at the Peltier’s farm, entirely organized and overseen by Gary and Silver and their dedicated volunteer committee.
Gary and Silver’s commitment to this successful event has inspired another similar fundraiser in the Central Interlake region. The Ride for Hope and Wishes, now ten years old, was started by Charlene and Vic Dziedzic, and contributes more than $20,000 annually to the Manitoba Chapter.
Between 1995 to 1997, Gary Peltier served as the Chapter Chairperson, thus not only representing the local area, but promoting the organization in the rural communities. Gary demonstrated his trademark commitment to every facet of this role, educating surrounding businesses, corporations and individuals on the work of The Children’s Wish Foundation and the importance of giving.
The Peltiers have also been integral in arranging and delivering wishes. When 15-year-old Janelle wished for a horse trailer, Silver and Gary established a partnership with a supplier and worked closely with the wish family throughout the wish process. As a result of this superior service and attention to detail, this wish family became highly involved in the Foundation as volunteers.
Through their extraordinary efforts, Gary and Silver Peltier have gained widespread community recognition as the region’s Children’s Wish ambassadors. From establishing a remarkable legacy through the Annual Ride, to educating communities, receiving wish referrals and supporting other wish events across the province, the contribution of this dynamic duo has indeed been remarkable.