Shovel in hand, that was Dave Rex’s witty reply when asked how he felt about being named a 2016 Seniors of Distinction Award recipient for this province and the only one in Western Newfoundland.
He didn’t look old shoveling up weeds to prepare a plot that isn’t even his in the Community Garden outside Stephenville Lions Club.
Doing community work is something that’s second nature to 74-year-old Rex, who said volunteering is something he enjoys doing and gives him an inner satisfaction.
“It’s okay to wear out, but a damn crime to sit back and rust out,” he said.
He was part of the committee that started the community garden, which now has 55 individual plots and five raised beds for those with physical challenges.
His favourite involvement of all throughout the years has been his involvement with youth through St. John Ambulance First Aid with cadets and the Duke of Edinburgh Awards program. He has trained thousands of youth in First Aid and through it has met some of the finest young people in the world.
Next to that is his work with the Lions, an organization he has been part of for 26 years now and has served in many capacities, including president for a number of years.
The Port Rexton native moved to Stephenville in 1981 from Wabush, Labrador, which followed a stint living in St. Lawrence.
Rex is eager to keep up his volunteer service as long as he can, as he says there’s only a short time to do it when you consider a person’s life span.
A year and a half ago he went through a round of radiation cancer treatments, which was a really bad time for him.
“Only for Daffodil Place, I don’t think I would have finished the treatment,” he said.
Right now, according to his doctor’s word, he is 100 per cent cancer free.
“If I die with a shovel in my hand or teaching First Aid, I’ll have nothing to complain about,” Rex said.
As a church member, cub leader, municipal politician and instructor, his dedication and passion are obvious.
For more than 40 years he has served as a member of the Newfoundland and Labrador’s Occupational Health and Safety Association and 12 of these years were as president.
Under his leadership, in 2013 the Stephenville Lions Club was named a Top Five Club in Canada.
As a member of the Indian Head Co-op and the Stephenville Lions Club, Rex helped establish a partnership to support local non-profit and charitable organizations such as school breakfast programs, sick children’s foundation, community garden, search and rescue and emergency food service.
A longtime member of the Kindale Public Library board, his passion for education and understanding makes him a positive role model for people of all ages.
In 1999 and again in 2007, Rex was named Stephenville’s Citizen of the Year.
Other recipients of the 2016 Seniors of Distinction Award are: Gerald Andrews and Alice Blundon, both of Carbonear, Russ Murphy of Marystown and Reginald White of Mount Pearl.