By Trevor Suffield
Jan. 15, 2009
Doug Blaylock learned some valuable lessons about helping his community while growing up on a farm in the Swan Valley Region.
Blaylock, who works as a consultant with Investors Group, hasn't forgotten those lessons and continues to apply them to life in Winnipeg.
I think the big thing that was instilled, especially by my grandfather, was you always give back because you never know when you may need to receive it, said Blaylock, 39, who lives in River Heights with his wife and daughter.
Blaylock's grandfather served in the Second World War and saw firsthand the good work the Salvation Army did in Europe. He subsequently told his grandson to always help people in need.
That sense of responsibility stayed with Blaylock, even when working as a funeral director for 17 years.
Most of the time you meet people on their worst day, so how do you help them out with the grieving process? There is lots of volunteer work in there, he said.
It was Investors Group's commitment to helping others that made Blaylock want to work for the company.
During the past five years Investors staff members helped build a home for Habitat for Humanity, assisted with several food drives and delivered hampers this past holiday season.
We're very fortunate in what we have, he said, so how do we share that?
This year, Blaylock has been helping by taking the United Way's Leadership Challenge, which is in its second year.
Ten long-time donors issued a challenge to the United Way and said that if 2,500 donors give $1,200 a year, they will give an additional $250,000 towards poverty reduction in Winnipeg.
Some of these long-time donors include local businessmen Bob Silver and Hartley Richardson.
Stephanie Levene, campaign director for the United Way, said the donors wanted to encourage people to step up and donate to increase the overall ownership in the future of the community.
The money is invested in two proven poverty reduction strategies that will help people achieve financial stability in this community, she said.
Levene added that the aim of the Leadership program is to address the root causes of the poverty and find sustainable solutions.
The United Way has raised a total of $17.3 million, or 97% of its target, for 2008-09. The agency has been particularly pleased with the efforts of the 2,321 people who participated in the leadership program.
It's just another testament to the generosity of Winnipeggers and the commitment that people have to making Winnipeg a great city for everyone to enjoy, Levene said.
In addition to working with the United Way, Blaylock also volunteers with the Lions Club of Winnipeg, the Khartoum Temple and the Stroke Recovery Association.
Blaylock isn't the only member of his family involved in volunteering. Both his wife and daughter help out with different organizations throughout the city.
Despite his family's busy schedule, Blaylock says he is determined to staying true to his roots.
In farming life, community is a lot, he said. If you're done your harvest quick, you don't just park your combine in the shed, you go help your neighbour.