Our featured Westland Volunteer is Ernie Gilroy.
Ernie’s public service career includes two terms as a Winnipeg City Councillor and the CEO of the Manitoba Floodway Authority which managed the floodway expansion.
Ernie has known about the Westland Foundation since John Prystanski founded it in 1993. He and John were on City Council together, and they have remained friends since then.
John recruited Ernie to help sell tables for the 2018 Fundraising Breakfast, and he remained supportive after the breakfast. He is returning as the ticket sellers’ committee chair for the breakfast this year.
As well as volunteering for Westland, Ernie and his wife Wendy are long-time supporters of Save the Children. Ernie witnessed volunteers from Save the Children in action when he was an international election monitor in Liberia after the civil war in 1997. Save the Children workers were assisting in re-uniting child-soldiers with their villages after the war, and he was impressed by how much they accomplished with so little.
One thing that Ernie appreciates about the Westland Foundation is its focus on education. He lives in an older neighbourhood in the west end, and he was the City Councillor there. He is familiar with the challenges facing working-class
families wanting a better education for their children, and he commends the Westland Foundation for providing scholarship monies to help these families.
Ernie places much value on higher education. He recalls that he had to study in the evening to obtain his business diploma. His education became the foundation he and his family needed to start and grow the family insurance business. He says that without his education, he wouldn’t have been able to manage his own business.
Ernie is optimistic about the future, and he has confidence in the future generations of leaders like the Westland Scholars. While he worries about the health of the planet and the lack of civility in public debates, he believes that we live in one of the best countries in the world. “We should be proud, and we should be optimistic about the future.” He challenges the younger generation to seize every opportunity to volunteer because he believes these opportunities will prepare them as they take over the leadership responsibilities in the world.
For Ernie, it has been a rewarding experience to volunteer with the Westland Foundation. Finally, he says, “In volunteering, you get back more than you give. The feeling of satisfaction outweighs the little work that you do to get the job done. So, roll up your sleeves and volunteer!”