An Airdrie Meals on Wheels (AMOW) Society volunteer and long-time community resident is retiring after eight years of service with the local charity, and the impact of his retirement will be felt across the community, according to AMOW Volunteer Coordinator Karen Blanchette.
Every Friday since 2013, Dan McKinnon has delivered food for AMOW, along with his volunteer duties throughout the week at other societies and organizations in the city, including the Airdrie Lions Club.
Blanchette said AMOW clients will often ask for McKinnon personally by name, and request he deliver the meals to their home. She added he is especially popular with clients from the Fletcher Village retirement home, where he is also a resident.
“He’s familiar with a lot of the clients,” Blanchette said. “A lot of clients enjoy talking with him when he delivers the meals and some of them save different things for him because he has several different causes, whether it be foil containers for something else or whatever the case may be.
McKinnon, who is 82, suffered a “mishap” last year, according to Blanchette, which temporarily put him out of commission. But as soon as he was recovered enough to be able to get behind the wheel, he was “back at it delivering.”
She added the long-time volunteer is always eager to help AMOW whenever they put out a call for volunteers to show appreciation to sponsors, including participation in photo-ops and cheque presentations.
"We’re really going to miss him in that regard,” she said.
Before moving to Airdrie in 1991, McKinnon worked as a farmer on his family homestead two and a half miles east of Airdrie, which is now within city limits.
He said he started volunteering with AMOW in 2013, after he retired from the farm and didn’t have much to do.
“I knew people that had [volunteered] and I thought, well, why can’t I do that?” McKinnon said.
He added that working, donating and supporting his community have always been a part of his and his family’s lives – the McKinnons are involved in 4-H Alberta, in addition to other community organizations and cattle industry organizations.
With his retirement from AMOW pending, he added he’s especially going to miss seeing and talking to the clients when he delivers meals for the organization.
“You just get to know those people, you just don’t dump a meal off and walk away. You talk to them, you make sure that they don’t have any physical problems or anything, or if they have a letter to mail, you just try to be helpful,” he said, adding that helping out other people is in his blood.
“I’ve been involved in everything; I mean that’s what our family did.”
According to Blanchette, the society will be recognizing McKinnon and all the volunteer hours he has put in over the years “in some way, shape, or form,” in the coming months.
“We’re not really sure how that’s going to [look], but he has been very helpful for us and an awesome volunteer,” she said.
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