Volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they just have the heart.
Auxiliary Police Constable Holly Rutherford, Badge #51927, reached 1,000 volunteer hours for 2018.
The Auxiliary Officer of the Month for November, Holly said "It's an honour to be recognized but doing the hours I do is just a personal goal for me and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it."
Although we are told hours aren't all that matters” it is the spirit with which Holly commits herself to the community and policing that got her this award. Sergeant Sheila Richardson, Auxiliary Program Coordinator, presented Holly with a framed certificate and a gift card on November 26 at the 51 Division team meeting.
“These monthly awards are just one of the ways our unit is trying to encourage, motivate and show our appreciation to our Auxiliary officers," Community Partnership & Engagement Unit A/Supt Dave Rydzik said.
Holly is one of about 400 uniformed auxiliary officers who volunteer approximately 70,000 hours annually to assist the Service’s community engagement initiatives, crime prevention programs, special events, parades, searches for missing persons and emergency call outs.
"he is incredibly dedicated to her community and the service. She always arrives early and gathers the equipment and any materials required for the detail. What a team player," her Auxiliary Staff Sergeant Edison Yon said.
From helping out with the horses at the Mounted Unit in old clothes to dressing up in her #1 Uniform at the Chief's Gala, there is no detail too small or too formal for her. Holly is usually out two or three times a week and sometimes does two details in one day. Her favourite details include working with children (as in the Lieutenant Governor's Children's Games) and people with disabilities.
Holly decided to devote her time to volunteer work after witnessing some family members and friends succumb to life-altering illnesses and even unexpected death. She retired, moved downtown and focused her attention on giving back to the community. Her first volunteer job was with the Wheelchair Basketball event for the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games. It gave her a sense of empowerment that she never felt before.
Living close to the Toronto Police Marine Unit, Holly went in one day to ask if there were volunteer opportunities available. The officers on duty took the time to make her aware of the Auxiliary Program and she is glad they did. She submitted her application shortly after that visit, graduated in November 2016… and has never looked back.
In addition to her Auxiliary work, Holly also volunteers at various film festivals and cultural events around the city including Hot Docs, Inside Out, Doors Open Toronto, Luminato, TIFF and imagineNATIVE and has been a VAACT (Volunteer Award for Arts and Culture in Toronto) Award Recipient for the past three years.
"To me, if it's something you want to do and commit to doing, then you just do it," said Rutherford.
Holly represents the kind of "career" Auxiliary officer who balances out those who join with the ambition of getting onto the regular service, one who truly just wants to give back to the community.
She tells us about the time when she was on a detail and helped to reunite a homeless woman with her lost dog. Holly ended up listening to the life story of someone who had lived a charmed life, had fallen on hard times and was hoping to rebuild her life. Weeks later while out at another detail, she heard someone running down the street calling her name and she connected with the same woman again. It is that kind of recognition that makes her work so worthwhile.
Holly epitomizes the wonderful sense of volunteerism that "the more you give, the more you get out of it" ...To many more years of giving, Holly!