Joyce Felix humbly accepted the YMCA Peace Medal on Friday afternoon and looked a little overwhelmed when she was getting the accompanying lapel pin attached.
“I’m not much for this,” she told Cheryl Johnson, operations director with the Bay St. George YMCA.
But in an interview later it was apparent that Felix enjoys what she does, especially when it comes to serving the community “behind the scenes.”
The description given for the recipient of the Peace Medal is an individual or group who, without any special resources, status, wealth or position, demonstrates a commitment to the values of P-E-A-C-E (participation, empathy, advocacy, community and empowerment) and serves as a model of what everyone is capable of achieving, if they choose.
Johnson said when she read the description the very first time, Joyce’s name immediately came to mind.
Felix, who is originally from Stephenville, moved back from Calgary, Alta. about 12 years ago. In Calgary she worked in the social services field with people with disabilities.
When she first returned to Newfoundland she still done some work in the same field but has been fully retired for three years now and has found her passion serving the community.
“I want the town to be better and if there is anything I see to be done, then I’ll do it if I’m able to,” she said.
Felix, who is 66 years old, volunteers her time at the YMCA, cleans up the ball fields and skate park near the Caribou Curling Club and even regularly picks up debris along Massachusetts Drive from the YMCA out to the anchors at Little Port Harmon.
In addition she volunteers at the Southwest Coast SPCA one evening a week and serves on two committees with the Newfoundland Aboriginal Women’s Network. She helps out at events like Stephenville Day, Canada Day, Healthy Kids Day, Terry Fox Run and Harmon Hustle.
She said when she lived in Alberta her plan was always to retire back to her hometown of Stephenville.
Felix said doing this volunteer work gets her outside and moving and helps keep her diabetes under control.
She recommends others with diabetes do the same, even if it’s a half an hour, as its “better than sitting on the couch.”
Felix also believes that if every business monitored their own premises and had an employee assigned at their discretion to pick up garbage the town would look a whole lot nicer and people would be getting exercise in the process.
She said receiving the Peace Award was a shock as she believed there would be a lot more deserving people than her but she’ll respect their decision.