HEARTS OF THE COMMUNITY: Flying under the radar

Isabelle Yoxall, recognized Feb. 19 as one of the Saanich Peninsula’s Hearts of the Community, says she doesn’t seek out the spotlight.

Isabelle Yoxall, recognized Feb. 19 as one of the Saanich Peninsula’s Hearts of the Community, says she doesn’t seek out the spotlight.

Like many people who volunteer, she said she doesn’t do it for recognition. Instead, Yoxall said she does the volunteer work because she likes to be active.

“If I’m not doing anything else, and if someone asks if I want to try something, I usually do it.”

That attitude has made her one of the Peninsula’s busiest volunteers. Since arriving on the Peninsula 30 years ago, she has spent her time with Beacon Community Services in many roles — from a driver and thrift store worker, to taking phone calls and holding fort at the reception desk at the SHOAL Centre.

Yoxall doesn’t stop there. She stuffs envelopes for the Mt. Newton Centre, knits with the Norgarden Knitters, sings at Rest Haven Lodge every Friday and helps co-ordinate other volunteers for the annual community Christmas dinner.

Yoxall said, being an active and outgoing person in general, volunteering allows her to get to know a lot of other people.

‘When I walk in downtown Sidney, I always run into someone I know.”

That, she added, is thanks enough.

Asked what keeps her volunteering she said, “what else would I do?”

“I’d probably just stay at home and watch TV.”

But she said she doesn’t like that idea and would rather get out and meet people.

“I recommend volunteering for many people. Some have nothing to do and I think they’ll get tired of that.

“It’s nice to be able to help someone.”

Being recognized for her many years of giving back to the community was a little unnerving, she admitted.

Yoxall said being in the spotlight is not her cup of tea and said she was overwhelmed at winning the Hearts of the Community award.

Yet, she hopes the appreciation for volunteers is spread around a little.

“Some deserve it more,” she said. “I don’t do it to be recognized or anything.”

Yoxall does admit to being pleased at earning her 15-year volunteer pin with Beacon Community Services.

Yoxall thanked her friend Helen Evans for nominating her this year, adding it may soon be Evans’ turn to become a Heart of the Community on the Saanich Peninsula.