Vol­un­teer Week spe­cial sec­tion

The Drumheller Mail - - FRONT PAGE - Diane Thomas

Larry Lew Mor­ton has been a vol­un­teer most of his life, whether strip­ping gear off buck­ing bulls or a con­sul­tant for Canada World Youth.

Mor­ton was born and raised as a ranch boy in the Hand Hills. As a young man, he told his dad, “I want to see fifty coun­tries by the time I turn 50.” His dreams came true and he has worked in the Mid­dle East, In­dia and Africa and all the way down to An­gola. In his words, “I have seen the world.”

Grow­ing up in the Hand Hills Mor­ton, his fa­ther and grand­fa­ther all vol­un­teered at the Hand Hills stam­pede strip­ping gear off buck­ing horses and bulls. The job re­quired the cow­boy to take off the flank straps, ropes & bells, touch­ing and talk­ing, to calm the ex­cited an­i­mals. Mor­ton still vol­un­teers to this day, strip­ping gear, at the Stam­pede.

Dur­ing the 1970’s, many young men from Al­berta, started work­ing in the oil patch and Mor­ton was no dif­fer­ent. Mor­ton got a job with Joy­line Trans­port, mov­ing oil­rigs. Af­ter a cou­ple of years, they sent him to work over­seas with six rig trucks.

Af­ter work­ing over­seas for 20 years, Mor­ton was con­sid­ered a con­sul­tant for that part of the world with World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion, Cana­dian Em­bassy and the Cana­dian Con­sulate. Dur­ing the Gulf War, seven stu­dents were sched­uled to go on a eight month stu­dent ex­change to In­dia. The Cana­dian Em­bassy in Delhi, con­tacted Mor­ton to be the stu­dents guide and lo­gis­tics per­son. It was a mem­o­rable time, ac­cord­ing to Mor­ton as he got to be away from the oil rigs, the mov­ing trucks and the dan­ger­ous work.

Af­ter work­ing away for over 35 years, Mor­ton moved back to Drumheller. He was walk-

It is very re­ward­ing to be a vol­un­teer, to give back some­thing. Peo­ple al­ways ask me, ‘what would we do with­out you?’ I re­ply, ‘what would I have with­out you!’” Larry Lew Mor­ton Vol­un­teer

ing past Pi­o­neer Trail So­ci­ety one day, looked in­side and saw Ge­orge Humphrey. Humphrey had taught Mor­ton to curl when he was only six years old. He went in­side to talk and that was the day he de­cided to be­come a vol­un­teer.

“The peo­ple here, at the so­ci­ety, re­ally helped me. I didn’t know how to fit back into a com­mu­nity. It was a dif­fer­ent cul­ture, dif­fer­ent life and I had lost the knowl­edge, on how to in­ter­act with peo­ple.” He vol­un­teers his time at the Pi­o­neer Trail So­ci­ety as their Vice Pres­i­dent, their main­te­nance per­son and Bingo caller.

His big­gest ac­com­plish­ment was get­ting wheel­chair ac­ces­si­ble wash­rooms built at cen­tre. Mor­ton ex­plains, “I am very aware of ac­cess is­sues, due to the dan­gers of mov­ing big iron and peo­ple get­ting hurt. Fel­lows I worked with, over the years, have got­ten hurt, broke their backs and ended up in wheel chairs.”

Mor­ton is also a vol­un­teer with the Drumheller Dragons. He proudly says, “It is be­hind the scenes work, and I haven’t missed one minute of any game for five straight sea­sons.”

Mor­ton also vol­un­teers with the Drumheller Hu­mane So­ci­ety. He and his girl­friend, have a tran­si­tional home for cats that don’t fit in, have eat­ing is­sues or strug­gling at the shel­ter. Mor­ton said, “We give them spe­cial care and we un­der­stand their needs. Some cats will re­quire a quiet home, per­haps with se­niors.” Cur­rently they have seven cats and four are ready for adop­tion.

“It is very re­ward­ing to be a vol­un­teer, to give back some­thing. Peo­ple al­ways ask me, ‘what would we do with­out you?’ I re­ply, ‘ What would I have, with­out you!’” ex­pressed Mor­ton.

mailphoto Diane Thomas

Vol­un­teer Larry Lew Mor­ton calls out Bingo num­bers at the Pi­o­neer Trail Cen­tre.

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