A TRUE VOLUNTEER
An interview by Stéphanie Simard. Images © Miguel Lalonde Photography
Volunteer work is not for everyone, but for Pierre Huot, it’s a lifestyle choice. So much so that in 2017 he was named volunteer of the year by the United Counties of Prescott-Russell for all that he has done and given. This is his story.
This native of Ottawa graduated from Carleton University and is a certified accountant. Most of his career was spent in airport management for National Defence. He was in charge of runway regulations and safety across the country. He is the one who first introduced the noise mitigation measures near airports, which are now in place throughout Canada.
Pierre has always been engaged in the community. As a foster parent for many years, he took several children under his wing. He even served at the President of the Foster Parents Association of Ottawa for 10 years.
In 2000, Pierre set his sights on The Bay School, a former little schoolhouse. He had it moved to Voisine Street in Rockland, and spent five years renovating that haven in preparation for a well-deserved retirement. But as it happened, retirement, just like his career, would lead to a series of interesting challenges.
In addition to all of the projects he had already completed, Pierre decided to lend a hand on the Board of Directors of the Rockland Caisse Populaire. But he yearned to do more for those in need. One day, while reading the newspaper, he came across a notice posted by Prescott and Russell Community Services seeking volunteers for Rockland’s Meals on Wheels. He responded to the call.
At first, Pierre served as VP on the Board, but soon after became President, a role he continues to fill to this day. This year will mark his tenth with the local Meals on Wheels program.
It takes deep conviction to volunteer for so many years. Pierre reminds us that people have more pressing needs than filling an empty tummy. Sadly, many suffer from loneliness and mental health issues. The Meals on Wheels volunteers and sponsors often bring a breath of fresh air, and end up being seen as angels of mercy for people needing a little companionship or food.
We asked Pierre when he thinks he’ll quit. Without a moment’s hesitation, he answered: “Never (…). I intend to be at it until the very end.” Can there be a greater sign of love for your fellow humans than choosing to live making a difference in the lives of others? Pierre Huot is definitely the epitomy of the TRUE volunteer.