“I usually have lots to say, but receiving this award is a shock,” Gillies explained upon presentation of the award. “My dad told me to always look out for the underdog, and I guess that stuck because that’s what I’ve tried to do all of my adult life.”
In addition to being a longtime member of Council 924, Darlene is a past international president of UCT, having served six years on the board of governors. According to Neepawa’s Anne Pritchard, who nominated her for the award, Darlene uses her UCT local council to address the needs in her community by encouraging her fellow members to join her in getting involved in projects and events that make a difference for others.
Some of these projects include coordinating Join Hands Day projects with local youth, assisting with UCT safety poster contests, co-chairing the committee for the Progressive Agricultural Safety Day, volunteering for Special Olympics and more. It is estimated that she puts roughly 500 hours into these volunteer activities each year.
In addition to the community service Gillies spearheads with her UCT local council, she provides significant service on her own – nearly 1,000 hours’ worth each year that includes volunteering as a palliative care worker who sits with terminally ill patients during their final hours, visiting bereaved families in their homes, driving cancer patients to chemotherapy and radiation treatments, and assisting at the local flu clinic.