On 26 December 2004 a major tsunami rose from ocean’s
depths and unleashed its fury upon South and Southeast Asian
countries. Slamming its way inshore, this catastrophic
tsunami left in its wake heartache and immeasurable loss.
Days into 2005, the rest of the world was still trying to
grasp the magnitude of this natural disaster.
Worldwide, the importance of volunteerism was never more
apparent as when voluntary organizations such as the Red
Cross and Oxfam quickly mobilized to bring help. Help also
came by untold acts of heroism and individual volunteerism,
volunteer fundraising, and private and government donations.
Closer to home, Albertans lost one of its greatest
volunteers — our beloved Lieutenant Governor,
Lois Hole. The
most common adjective people use to describe her is "warm."
Her clear blue eyes, which were lit from behind with humour
and kindness, could embrace a person and make him or her
feel that she was truly with them. Her caring was genuine
and Albertans knew this.
Our "Queen of Hugs" lived her life fully. She was a wife,
mother, friend, gardener, savvy business woman, school
trustee, University of Alberta chancellor, and of course
Lieutenant Governor. Proudly Albertan, she spoke out about
the importance of helping our less fortunate. She was
unwavering in her beliefs that literacy, education, and
health should be priorities. Most importantly, she backed
her words with action. Lois Hole embodied volunteerism by
giving her time and energy to the betterment of individuals,
groups, and causes.
Alberta’s legacy of volunteerism continues.