Weyburn's own Marlene Nedelcov was post-humously awarded the Saskatchewan Volunteer Medal on May 1.
Marlene's daughter, Susan Nedelcov-Anderson, received the award on her mother's behalf at Government House in Regina.
"It was bittersweet," said Nedelcov-Anderson about the day, which proved to be more difficult than she'd planned.
Susan was very close to her mother Marlene, who had been a devoted stay-at-home mom to her two children. She said her mother was always there for her family, volunteering countless hours as a chauffeur and more, for their music, church and sports organizations - long before she got involved in the more public kinds of service that earned her the recognition.
"She would never belong to any kind of organization without being an active participant," said Susan Nedelcov-Anderson. "She was behind the scenes, making sure it all got done."
Nedelcov-Anderson said that her mother was a true nurturer.
"As a child growing up in our household," said Nedelcov-Anderson, "we never knew who was going to show up for Sunday dinner or Christmas dinner, because if she knew of someone in the community who didn't have a place to go, that person would be at our house."
Whether it was through her cinnamon buns, her chocolate chip cookies or her fudge, many people knew Marlene's sweet and caring nature. She always took care of everybody.
Since her mother's passing, Nedelcov-Anderson said she has heard from many people about just how comfortable they felt around Marlene.
"She had a way of bringing people together," said Nedelcov-Anderson. "Especially with family. She made sure we all knew how important it is to keep connected."
Once her children were grown, Marlene Nedelcov, in order to pursue the building of a leisure centre for Weyburn, decided to run for City Council in 1985. She served on City Council for 15 years.
Nedelcov's accomplishments include serving as Chair for the Weyburn Crocus Festival, the Weyburn Wheat Festival and for the Saskatchewan Crime Stoppers Program. She served her church as a leader of the women's group and as a senior choir member, choir instructor, organist/pianist and children's group leader. She sat on the boards of more than thirteen additional comittees, including the Weyburn Police Commission. The list goes on and on.
Among the many other causes that kept Marlene busy, she was also a Meals on Wheels volunteer. Because she sometimes took her young daughter with her to deliver the meals, she imparted to Susan a sensibility for the powerful influence one can have on the lives of others.
"Your influence goes beyond your own children," said Nedelcov-Anderson, "and that's what mom's life spoke to."
Marlene Nedelcov walked the talk. For example, she valued keeping Weyburn clean and making it a nice place in which to raise a family. So, she would regularly pick up litter on her morning walks.
"Your parents are your role models," said Nedelcov-Anderson, who follows in her mother's footsteps as an active volunteer with organizations like inMotion and Weyburn Parks Board.
"Everybody is busy, for sure," said Nedelcov-Anderson. "But there are some things that you can do that have a positive impact on peoples' lives that don't take a lot of time."
Nedelcov was an advocate for parks and green space and was in fact a founding member and president of the Association of Saskatchewan Urban Parks and Conservation Areas. She served as chair of the Weyburn Parks Board and was instrumental in the creation of the Tatagwa Parkway.
"She was able to have an impact on a lot of things beyond the family and beyond Weyburn, which a lot of people don't have the chance to do," said Anderson. "She never did it for recognition."
Since Marlene Nedelcov was not the kind of person who sought recognition, perhaps it is appropros that she has received the award post-humously. According to her daughter, Marlene would have genuinely appreciated the honour of the prestigious award.
Nedelcov was one of nine recipients of the volunteer medal. Saskatchewan continues to have one of the highest rates of volunteerism in Canada.