So you think it would be cool to be Maple Ridge’s Citizen of the Year. But do you have what it takes? Are you passionate about the community? Are you willing to bend over backwards to make the world around you a better place? Are you committed to the cause, whatever it may be?
If you can answer yes to each of those questions, then you too can breathe the rarified air of people like Margaret Kury, who was named Citizen of the Year back in 2008 in recognition of a lifetime spent trying to make her hometown a better place.
Margaret is no stranger to the people of Maple Ridge. Indeed, her uniformed presence as Mistress of Ceremonies at local Remembrance Day services, and the backpack covered with stuffed animals that she used to carry on her daily walks, are pretty much iconic in this community. But it’s not her public persona that earned her the Citizen of the Year nod, rather what she does in a more tangible way to make a difference to all residents.
As a mother, she was involved in her children’s bowling and baseball leagues when they were young. But she didn’t stop there, because as an ex-member of the Royal Canadian Air Force there was the Royal Canadian Legion to become a part of, as well as the local chapter of the Ex-Servicewomen’s Club, organizations she’s been involved with for more than 30 years.
She was treasurer of the local Air Cadet squadron, a 30-year volunteer with the Red Cross (which became Canadian Blood Services), a 20-year volunteer with St. John Ambulance, a member of Adopt-A-Block, and a telethon volunteer with Variety Club for 30 years. And these are just the highlights of a life spent in service to her community.
Her many projects have included fundraising for causes that she believes in, like prostate cancer, breast cancer, heart and stroke and Ridge Meadows Hospice. For these organizations, in the past seven years alone, she’s raised more than $162,000 in donations. She was also part of Ridge Meadows Hospital’s most recent capital campaign, which helped build the new emergency department amongst other projects.
As for why she does it, Margaret says it’s simply not in her nature to belong to something without being completely committed. She doesn’t know exactly where it comes from, but she does know she has to be fully involved. “I have to go 100 percent or not do it at all because I have to have my heart in it,” she says. “And I also know I’ll keep doing this as long as I have my health.”
So does Margaret have any advice for those who want to make a difference? “Well, I don’t know if I would say ‘find a cause’, but there’s something out there for everyone to take an interest in, and when you give it your all it adds meaning to your life.” She also advises ensuring your partner is fully on board because it makes life easier to have the support. Margaret says her partner (and now husband) Larry has been a tower of strength for her, has often been involved himself, and has always been proud of the work she does.
Story by Robert Prince