A very special volunteer that I am more than happy to nominate for this award is Waffles Groulx-Price. Waffles is certainly not your ordinary volunteer; but no less important than any other. Waffles Groulx-Price, is a pug. Waffles has quickly become a part of our team here at CCS, and I can’t remember what it was like before him. Waffles is friendly, supportive, and dedicated. More than this, Waffles technically logs more volunteer hours at our office than any other volunteer! (28-37 hours a week!)
Waffles has many duties. Waffles spends most of his time with staff and improving the quality of work-life in our office. He starts his day off every single morning by running into every office and greeting every staff member and volunteer. He knows each person differently; he knows where to go for a head scratch, where to go for a belly rub, and where to go for a cheese cracker. But no matter where Waffles goes, we know that he is leaving behind a smile, and a lifted mood. Life at CCS can be hectic at times, but Waffles can help keep us grounded, motivated, and a little bit destressed!
Waffles’ most important work lies with our clients. When people have been diagnosed with cancer, it can be some of the scariest moments in their life. When they come to our office for help and support, a cute friendly face really helps them relax, and feel at home. More importantly, it puts a much-needed smile on their faces. Waffles understands patients really well. He understands when someone wants him to sit at their feet while they try on wigs. He knows if they want him to sit on their lap. He also knows, (in rare cases!), when they want a little bit of space. I’ve seen people come in looking for a wig and leaving with a wig, and a photo of them and Waffles! I’ve had a mother come in and thank Waffles for sitting with her daughter while she was hearing difficult news. There is a kind of therapy Waffles is able to offer to our clients that we simply can’t. For this, I am extremely grateful he holds such a frequent position in this office.
All of this support aside, Waffles is downright great at his job. Waffles can be seen advertising our services, products, and contests on Facebook. He is consistently out at events meeting people and bringing people to our table. At an event where we have an information table, people will come to see Waffles, but stay to hear important cancer information. Waffles went around to every business with a pin box and brought them a smile as we picked them up. He’s at the bank every week, when he walks in the staff yell “Waffles, how are you!” He’s selling you your pink ribbon or daffodil, he is brightening your day, every where he goes.
Without realizing, Waffles also brings people together. A new client shares information with you about their dog(s), asks questions about Waffles, suddenly you are acquainted! Waffles’ 1st birthday party brought our entire organization together. People bonded over the cake, the presents, and most importantly what we all do for CCS. It might’ve been his birthday, but mostly it was an excuse for a volunteer appreciation lunch.
All of our volunteers bring different skills and personalities to our organization, but no one is quite like our Waffles. Waffles might fall asleep during most meetings, squeak his toys a little too often, and possibility be the messiest water drinker I’ve ever met, but there is no doubt to me that he is a vital member of our team. Waffles completes the circle of care that we are able to offer our clients here at our Thunder Bay office. He gives them a smile and a snuggle when they probably need it most, and all humour aside, that gift is immeasurable.