Tourism Volunteer of the Year honoured

Central Manitoba Tourism Board Chair Vern May presents Les Klippenstein with the award for Tourism Volunteer of the Year. (GREG VANDERMEULEN/Morden Times)

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Rick Klippenstein was named the Tourism Volunteer of the Year at the 2019 Central Manitoba Tourism Awards Gala, April 25.
The former R.M. of Stanley CAO was honoured for his contribution to the Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre where he donates more than 400 volunteer hours annually.
Klippenstein is recognized not just for his time spent but for his contributions to the success of the attraction as a whole. “His contributions to build exhibits and increase capacity in the Centre have wowed audiences of all ages,” the nomination states.
Klippenstein said he did not expect to be honoured for the work he does with CFDC, saying it felt strange initially. But, he added it also feels good to be recognized.
In fact, he never got into volunteering at CFDC for the sole purpose of lending a hand. He admits it was also about finding something for himself.
“In the big picture it’s about finding something that you can take pleasure in,” he said. “It gets you out and gets you involved. Especially after retirement that becomes kind of critical. What are you going to do with your time and how do you maintain some level of social contact?”
And while he never anticipated receiving an award for his four years he’s volunteered at CFDC, Klippenstein admits it feels good.
“This is meaningful to me I guess because somebody is saying to me I’m valued,” he said. “Being able to further promote the Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre in a sense is also important.”
After retirement Klippenstein knew he needed to get involved in something.
To keep busy he worked with recycling for minimum wage. That wasn’t a long term solution and he said he even sat around for a month in the winter. It was then he saw a story about CFDC in local media.
He doesn’t recall what that story was about, but it did prompt him to walk into the doors and ask what they’d like him to do.
“It was like, when can you start?” he said with a laugh.
Klippenstein soon found himself doing maintenance, painting, helping with displays and taking on projects with fellow volunteer Terry Gibson.
“I enjoy painting… most people don’t,” he said. “There’s a lot of that museum that I have painted over the years.”
“What we’ve tried to do is certainly enhance the experience of the visitor,” he added.
Klippenstein said the value of CFDC is more apparent to him after he’s helped there.
“When you see people from all over the world coming there, it sort of makes you appreciate it more,” he said. “I think the sad thing is that generally people in Morden haven’t got a clue of what a treasure we have there.”
Klippenstein said he loves working with the people at CFDC. “If you feel appreciated and feel like you’re contributing, that drives you.”
His advice for those looking to give back is to first consider the type of tasks they like to do.
“The key to me is to envision what it is you’d like to do, and then shop around and see what organization in the community could use that particular skill set that you bring,” he said.