Bert and Doris Dinsmore during their small, socially distanced celebration in the backyard of their Upland Estates home last week. The two are the 2020 winners of the Oak Bay Volunteer Services annual award and also earned the Oak Bay Oak Leaf, as presented by the mayor. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)

Oak Bay couple honoured for 35 years volunteering

Mayor awards distinguished Oak Leaf to Bert and Doris Dinsmore

Things change after 35 years and for the Dinsmores, Bert and Doris, volunteering has been an evolution.

The couple was honoured with Oak Bay Volunteer Services’ annual recognition award for 2020 on Sept. 16. It was a small celebration in the garden of their Oak Bay home, small enough that Bert cracked a surprise bottle of champagne as it was also their 38th wedding anniversary.

The two were also presented with the Oak Bay Oak Leaf, as presented by Mayor Kevin Murdoch. Oak Bay council also sent a framed photograph of the ocean off Oak Bay.

READ ALSO: Revamped Oak Bay Volunteer Services returns post-COVID

“We have met a lot of fine people and were able to help in so many different ways,” said Bert, who has been most passionate about helping elders with their gardens.

Throughout their time the couple held all sorts of roles. Doris twice sat as chair of the Oak Bay Volunteer Services executive board, a five-year term each time. She also served her 35 years in the office. The two still put in time despite Doris’ limited mobility and are now ambassadors of Oak Bay Volunteer Services.

The ceremony was a small, socially distanced gathering in the backyard of their Upland Estates home.

“Our volunteer celebrations are usually a big event so it had to be a quaint and intimate affair this year, but we wanted to make sure you were recognized,” said OBVS executive director Renee Lormé-Gulbrandsen.

Bert told the story of one of his first volunteer sessions. He showed up to help an Oak Bay senior who had asked for help packing a few things up.

READ MORE: Volunteer opportunities abound in Greater Victoria

It was his first lesson on the balance of staying true to what Oak Bay Volunteer Services can offer, and the limits to what can be done.

“When I got inside, there were piles of newspapers all the way up the stairs,” he said. “She was a hoarder.”

When he got to the back garden, it was chest high and overgrown.

“When I came back the next week, I said, ‘I’m sorry, but Oak Bay Volunteer Services can’t help you with this [garden],’” he recalled. “You need a bulldozer.”

Bert helped dozens, if not hundreds of Oak Bay residents with getting their gardens started in the spring. It was something he took extra joy in and still does.

“We met a lot of really nice people.”

reporter@oakbaynews.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

oak bay

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kwick’kanum (Eric Pelkey), a hereditary chief of the Tsawout Nation, addressed the crowd that gathered at Mount Newton Cross Road and Highway 17 on Oct. 23. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
UPDATED: Pat Bay Highway reopens after rally supporting Mi’kmaq fishing rights

Supporters call on government to recognize Indigenous treaty rights

Sooke man Rik Downer spent two weeks in the Royal Jubilee Hospital after contracting flesh-eating bacteria. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Sooke man’s bumped knee leads to fight for life

Man unknowingly contracts case of rare flesh-eating disease

Const. Graham Walker of the Saanich Traffic Safety Unit recreates an incident involving a driver who police say attempted to film the scene of a crash while driving up Highway 17. (Saanich Police/Twitter)
Police track down driver caught filming accident scene on Pat Bay Highway

Driver issued $368 ticket, points on their licence

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is looking for this man, who they say stole a charity box. (Facebook/Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers)
Crime Stoppers looking for man who stole charity box from Saanich grocery store

Anyone with information asked to call Crime Stoppers

The 21st annual Japanese Cultural Fair streams online Oct. 24 from noon to 3 p.m. (Facebook/Victoria Nikkei Cultural Society)
Esquimalt’s Japanese Cultural Fair takes tastes, experiences and cultures online

21st annual free event streams Saturday, Oct. 24 starting at noon

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

Advance polls are open from Oct. 15 to 21 with election day on Oct. 24. (Black Press Media file photo)
100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Green party Leader Sonia Furstenau arrives to announce her party’s election platform in New Westminster, B.C., on October 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Green party says it’s raised nearly $835,000 in 38 days

NDP Leader John Horgan is holding his final virtual campaign event

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Oct. 20

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

Parksville’s Jared Huggan won $75,000 playing BC/49. (BCLC/Photo submitted)
Vancouver Island man $75K richer after purchasing winning lottery ticket at Nanaimo Walmart

Parksville’s Huggan plans to purchase electric bike for partner

Most Read