Comox nurse thrilled by 'unbelievable honour'
Care-A-Van co-ordinator Helen Boyd is among this year's recipients of the B.C. Community Achievement Awards, which honour those who have made a contribution as volunteers or in the course of their work.
The Comox registered nurse is a mental health and addictions therapist. She established the mobile Care-A-Van unit that, under the auspices of the Comox Bay Care Society, brings medical attention to disenfranchised members of the community.
"It's an unbelievable honour," Boyd said Monday. "I just feel so privileged to do this work, and then to be selected for this award is so rewarding."
Aside from her 10-hour position, the Care-A-Van service is run by volunteers.
"Really, I share this in my heart of heart with all the Care-A-Van volunteers, the supporters, the people who nominated me, and the board of the Comox Bay Care Society because it's all of us together."
Boyd was part of the first local homelessness survey conducted in 2006 in conjunction with the Ad Hoc Emergency Resources Organization (AHERO). The Care-A-Van will have been operating four years come April. Volunteers have seen more than 700 people.
Services include health care, dental, optometry and smoking-cessation programs.
"We run this on very little money, and yet it's an unbelievable service to the community," Boyd said, noting the Care-A-Van operates year-round, rain or shine, including statutory holidays.
"That speaks really to the dedication of the volunteers, be they nurses or doctors, dentists, optometrists or pharmacists. And our drivers. They're a big part of this program.
"Really, I stand on the shoulders of unbelievable volunteers. It certainly isn't just myself that's deserving of this award, it's all of them."
Boyd, who hails from Quebec, has been an RN for more than 30 years. Before moving to the Valley 12 years ago, she worked in various parts of Canada and overseas.
"I love my profession," she said. "It's very rewarding."
Last year, Boyd received the College of Registered Nurses of B.C. Award of Advocacy. The previous year, she received the Chamber of Commerce Professional Merit Award. In 2010, she received the Paul Harris Fellowship from the Comox Rotary Club.
Premier Christy Clark announced the Community Achievement Award winners on Monday.
"Communities are built by people who step up to the plate and contribute," Clark said in a news release.
Boyd and 35 other recipients will be recognized in a presentation at Government House March 14 in Victoria. Each will receive a certificate and a medallion designed by B.C. artist Robert Davidson.