A good citizen

News this past week that Alma resident Jim de Bock was recognized with an Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship will come as no surprise to anyone who knows this dedicated community volunteer.

An active member of the Alma Optimist Club, de Bock was one of 11 Ontarians to receive the medal in a ceremony in Toronto on Jan. 17. The recognition was provided for activities de Bock worked on through the club and other initiatives of his own.

The medal recognizes individuals for their exceptional long-term efforts and outstanding contributions to the well-being of their communities. Much of de Bock’s community work centres on facilitating recreational activities for local youth. He has long been a fixture at virtually all of the village’s events, school functions, Sports leagues and fundraisers. A lengthy list of de Bock’s volunteer efforts, often in connection with the Optimist Club, have included: Breakfast on the Farm, a local swim program, Winterfest, Tin Can Curling, T-ball, bike rodeo, Plunger Plop, DARE program, Roadkill Race, beef barbecue, rink building and Alma Environment Fair.

No matter what’s going on in Alma, as Mapleton Mayor Neil Driscoll noted in an interview with the Community News, de Bock is “always involved somehow.”

A community’s need for good citizens and active volunteers seems to increase exponentially, the smaller it is. Without those who do what it takes to facilitate bonding activities, it’s difficult to maintain a sense of community in places where a large percentage of residents must travel out of town for employment and many other activities.

In in an interview after receiving the medal, de Bock humbly noted, “There’s so many other people out there who deserve this.”

 While it’s true that de Bock is by no means alone among exemplary citizens in Alma, he clearly provides the sort of leadership and example every community needs to thrive.