4K Community Cup winner for June 2021
One of the many ways seniors contribute to our society is by helping us learn from the past through their stories. And after 84 years on this planet Martin Hensen has a few. The most telling about him as a person, in my humble opinion, is one about an encounter just a week prior to our phone call regarding his nomination for our 4Korners Community Cup. Martin was out for a walk when he noticed another gentleman also enjoying the nice weather but uncomfortably hunched over his walker. As a long-time member of the Lions Club which has helped distribute over 120 walkers and wheelchairs to his community, Martin knows a thing or two about properly fitting a walker. He approached the man, ended up going back to his house where he was able to “fix it up,” extending the walker height from 36 to 38.5 inches. Martin tells me that “once he got walking upright, he was tickled pink.” Now, according to Martin’s logic, this was a selfish act. When we speak about his numerous hours volunteering, he talks about how much pleasure he gets out of it. “When you do something you get pleasure from, who is that for?” he asks me. I am too speechless to answer. I cannot find a way to call a man with three different honours for volunteering selfish even in this context.
To recommend someone for the 4Korners Community Cup please email firstname.lastname@example.org
I began this article mentioning storytelling as a vital way that seniors contribute to their communities. Another way is the ASTRONOMICAL number of volunteer hours they log. Martin is no exception. In fact, he may be the gold standard and has the hardware to prove it. The Medal of the National Assembly, 2012. Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, 2012. And the Sovereigns Medal for Volunteers, 2019. Martin has been a member of the Lions Club for over 20 years and put his experience as a bank manager to good use after retirement by serving as a treasurer at a few different organizations. When I ask where the desire to give back comes from, Martin tells me it could go back to his youth when he spent 5 years in Amsterdam under German occupation. “People had to band together to survive. Maybe that’s where it comes from.” It is another story I wish I could hear more about.
To have the kind of community impact Martin does is about making the choice repeatedly to be selfless. Martin could have kept walking on that beautiful day, but he didn’t. He could have decided 20 years ago that he did not want to house an entire library in his living room to start the now famous Deux-Montagnes Lions Club’s annual Giant Book Fair. Martin’s wife Betty was actually the driving force behind the book fair that in 2019 had over 36,000 books for sale and is the second largest book fair in Quebec. When we end our phone conversation Martin is on his way to the hospital to bring his sweetheart one of the three meals he prepares for her daily. They have been married 52 years, “after seven and a half years of dating to make sure,” says Martin, and I can’t help but think, I bet there is a beautiful love story there to tell…
Congratulations to Martin Hensen, our 4Korners Community Cup winner for June!