Chilliwack’s Alan Reid often goes unnoticed in his daily duties, but several members of of the community are standing up to point out his contributions to the community.
“Alan is verbally disabled, but understands clear as a bell,” explained Marlene Dance, who’s known Reid for nearly two decades through his work with the Chilliwack branch of the United Empire Loyalists’ Association of Canada (UELAC).
“He’s been such a huge help to (our organization),” continued Dance.”To do (what he does for us) faithfully for 18-plus years is really something. That we can totally rely on him is really quite amazing—he’s just wonderful.”
Born in 1960, Reid is developmentally disabled and non-verbal, yet that hasn’t stopped him from making a place for himself in Chilliwack.
“He’s worked at Save-On Foods for more than 25 years and I’ve been told he’s only ever had one sick day,” added Dance. “He lives independently, and he drives. He’s quite an inspiration.”
Nearly three decades ago, Chilliwack Supported Employment Services (SES) helped place Reid at Save-On, where he’s remained since.
“We try and make it a good fit,” said Nancy Gauvin, who’s the associate director of employment services at the Chilliwack Society for Community Living (CSCL), which manages the SES programming.
“Somebody with a 25-year tenure—that’s pretty amazing in any work place,” continued Gauvin, who first met Reid in 1997. “And to have Alan as part of this great services, that’s really awesome (because) he’s one of our early success stories that we’re very proud to share.”
When CSCL shared Reid’s 25-year achievement at Save-On on Facebook in 2016, Gauvin says the organization was blown away by the responses.
“The amount of comments and likes and social media engagements from posting his story were absolutely amazing, it went viral,” she explained. “People were commenting from all over, it was just so incredible. It was one of the most engaged posts and photos that we have ever put up.”
“Many people would say what (he does for us) is no big deal,” said Dance, “but it is a big deal. He helps tremendously, and without complaint,” so it was of no surprise when Reid won the Pacific UELAC’s Philip E.M. Leith Memorial Trophy last month. Each year, the award is presented to a member of the organization who has shown dedication to the Association, and although he can’t say much, Reid’s contributions come across loud and clear, says Dance.
“The best thing we can do for people is to help them live a rich and full life, and (Reid) is a living example of that,” added Gauvin. “He always has a smile, is always happy. I’m just so proud of him every time Iseehim and the great job (he does).”