Shawn O’Hara volunteers 16 years with Bridgewater Skating Club

Shawn O’Hara is best known to the Bridgewater community as a lawyer with Ferrier Kimball Thomas, but on March 7 he was celebrated as an outstanding volunteer.

He attended the 41st annual Provincial Volunteer Award Ceremony, after being nominated and winning a provincial volunteer award on behalf of Bridgewater.

“I’m very surprised and humbled to be the town’s representative for the provincial volunteer award,” he said, describing the luncheon as a very good and enjoyable time. “It was a very positive experience as they were celebrating volunteers, so there were individuals present from all over the province receiving their particular awards.”

Mr. O’Hara was particularly recognized in relation to the Bridgewater Skating Club, where he has volunteered for the past 16 years; the same length of time he has lived and worked in the area. He originally became involved when his three children began attending the program. They are now 22, 20 and 16 years of age. “I think it’s important to be able to give back, a lot of the volunteering that I’ve done has been associated with the activities my children have been involved in,” said Mr. O’Hara. It’s important that people get involved and make sure that kids in the community have good programs.” He is actively involved in running the club in terms of planning, scheduling and negotiating, but also ensures practices and events occur without incident.

“I think he’s an excellent representative, certainly he’s served in a multitude of capacities within the Bridgewater Skating Club and is very active with Big Brothers, Big Sisters,” said Mayor David Walker, who also attended the event. “I know he was very humble today that he received the recognition from the town, but we were delighted to be able to recognize him and we’ll be delighted to reinforce that at our local one next week.”

Mr. O’Hara’s interest in youth needs in the community also drew him to volunteer as a director on the board of Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Shore. His skills and abilities as a lawyer have helped him in this area. “The series of things that you need to do from pure risk management issues, understanding insurance issues, the whole dynamic of how organizations run, how they’re structured … having a law background was very helpful,” he said.

But kids being active and having fun is what drives him to fill his already busy life as a lawyer with his work as a volunteer. Now 50, O’Hara grew up in Halifax where he competitively swam and played water polo, having the opportunity to go to the Canada Games at one point.

“I’ve always seen and experienced the benefits of sport and recreation and a lot of the volunteering I’ve done is to try to create opportunities for others to experience that,” he said. “I’m just simply there to fill the needs that need to be done and I guess along the way it’s nice to have someone recognize those efforts.”

As originally published in LighthouseNOW Progress Bulletin

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