Volunteers like Bernadine Halliday bring #BigHearts to #convoyns2015

Bernadine Halliday’s love affair with Special Olympics began 18 years ago when a co-worker asked her to help out at the Provincial Summer Games.

Since then, she’s been deeply involved in nearly every event the organization has produced, taking on significant leadership roles in the annual Special Olympics Festival, the Hacker’s Classic curling spiel, Provincial Winter and Summer Games and of course the World’s Largest Truck Convoy.

Bernadine Halliday (centre in green) with her volunteer team at Special Olympics Nova Scotia Provincial Summer Games 2015 in Halifax
Bernadine Halliday (centre in green) with her volunteer team at Special Olympics Nova Scotia Provincial Summer Games 2015 in Halifax

But having loads of experience with other events did not prepare her for her involvement with the World’s Largest Truck Convoy, one of Special Olympics Nova Scotia’s newer fundraisers.

“I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I was asked to participate,” Halliday says. “But after the first Convoy I was incredibly moved that so many truckers – most with no connection to Special Olympics – participated and raised money for a cause they knew little about.”

She’s very proud of both the event experience offered at the Truck Convoy and the amount of money raised last year.

“I spotted a little girl wandering through the crowds at the festival hangar,” she recounts. “I asked if she was lost, she said no – I’m just going over to the kids area to play and colour.  I was so pleased that parents felt secure and comfortable enough to allow their children to wander!  I was glad we’d been able to create this type of atmosphere for the Convoy participants.”

The experience fueled her desire to continue her volunteer commitment and today she oversees the return ceremony. Her excitement for this event is building and contagious!

“I can’t wait to see some of the truckers and families who keep coming back,” she says. “They always show-up with such huge smiles, they know they’re doing something truly remarkable and are now part of the Special Olympics family.  The truckers who’ve never participated are instantly hooked; it’s remarkable to talk to them – especially when they tell us how they can’t wait til the next year.”

Volunteering for Special Olympics is a passion for Bernadine, and over the years she’s mentored hundreds of others to give back.

“My favourite part is when new volunteers discover the absolute joy our athletes have for each other, competing and for life,” she says. “When new volunteers are done with their task they always thank me for allowing them to help and can’t wait to return.  We’ve got people who return year after year; it’s not because they enjoy the hard work, it’s because the athletes refuel our hearts with their love, compassion and humanity!”

New volunteers to Special Olympics Nova Scotia are always welcome. If you are interested in volunteering for the Truck Convoy or any other program sign up today!