Whistler celebrated this week when long-time volunteer and community supporter Lillian Goldsmid received a Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal.
For Goldsmid, volunteering and community involvement have not been just interests and activities; they have been a lifestyle. An active skier and outdoors enthusiast, she volunteered for over 20 years at the annual Vancouver Ski Swap, which raised funds to support youth programs.
She has probably made 10,000 sandwiches for other volunteers and ski racers in events from juvenile club races to the World Cup.
Goldsmid became a volunteer hostess on Whistler and Blackcomb providing a welcome and assistance for resort visitors. And many of those visitors found themselves invited to afternoon tea at her house. When resort weddings became popular, she became a frequent witness at ceremonies conducted by her good friend, marriage commissioner Florence Peterson, who passed away last year.
Always an avid reader herself, Lil decided to share the gift of reading with Grade 1s and 2s in the Myrtle Philip and Spring Creek schools. She visits classrooms weekly and has read with the students for over two decades. As a result, many Whistler alumni know her as "Nana G."
Reading was Goldsmid's favourite way of giving back to the community. "It's been wonderful to see the reaction of the children to a granny, so many of the kids here don't have any older grandparents in their lives, so I was, in my very small way, the epitome of what it might be like to have a grandmother around," she said.
She's read to hundreds, if not thousands, of local children over the years, and she still remembers lots of names and faces. "I see them when I'm walking through the village and they'll say hello to me," she said. "I usually remember names, but if not I'll remember their faces. And they're always happy to have a hug - I guess we all are, really, whatever age or stage of the game."
The Goldsmids were one of the earliest families to take up a part-time residence in Whistler in 1967. They built their own home here in 1971 and moved to the village full time in 1987.
When Re-Use-It recycling opened at Function Junction, Lil became involved in helping to re-purpose community donations and to support Community Services. She currently helps out weekly at the food bank. When she and Howard celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary last summer they hosted their celebration as a fundraiser for the food bank. More than 250 people responded to their open invitation and donated over $12,000 to support this program.
Each year when the hotels and municipality remove their spring bulb plantings after the blossom season, Goldsmid is there to claim the bulbs which she sorts, repackages in brown paper bags, and sells in the fall to raise funds for the Whistler Library. The Library also benefits from her sorting and sales efforts at the Community Book Sale.
She maintains excellent relationships with the young employees of Whistler businesses by appearing with home-baked pies and cookies, and many of them now refer to her as Nana G also.
In 2002 Lil was chosen as Citizen of the Year in Whistler. The best part of that was access to her own personal parking stall in the Conference Centre underground for a year.
She uses her amazing energy to help make it a strong community, not just a resort. Her contributions help ensure that those who live here have services, opportunities and a place they can call home.
Her initial reaction to being given the award was embarrassment. She felt others in the community deserved to be recognized ahead of her, "although I have enjoyed thoroughly what I've done here over the years," she said. "I guess the length of time is what stood out. It's a huge honour."
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