(reposted from Hell Ya PG! Thanks for all you do!)
Meet Stan Cook, an Entertainer & Clown
When I met Stan Cook over a Timmy’s coffee, he kindly offered me a free ticket. His eyes twinkled and he smiled while I read the card: “It’s not good for anything, it’s just free.” And with a laugh, we began our conversation about his volunteer experiences inside and outside Prince George: The Volunteer City.
Stan was raised on a farm outside Prince George with “no tv, no power, water came from a well and for entertainment, well, we played cards [with each other]”. I can easily imagine that the conversations during those card games developed Stan’s natural ability to entertain and to make people laugh. He put this trait to use during his first volunteer opportunity as a street performer for Fort Steele Heritage Town, where he enjoyed creating an authentic character called “the old packer” with inspiration from an old, battered hat. For Stan, volunteering has “always got to be fun . . . [because] it makes people want to come back.”
Following his retirement as an Electrical Instructor from the College of New Caledonia in May 2001, Stan felt it was important to “keep the mind and the body busy”. He began sharing his dramatic, singing, and public speaking talents as a volunteer with the Elder Citizens’ Recreation Association (ECRA), but he hasn’t stopped there. Stan is now learning to play ukulele and he is acting in his first Mystery Dinner on February 4th. When talking about the Mystery Dinner, Stan jokes “I’ve never seen one before, never been in one before and, now all of a sudden, I’m in one.” It is great that volunteering can provide opportunities to learn new skills and try new activities.
All joking aside, when this recipient of a Prince George 2008 Community Service Award is asked why he volunteers, Stan replies “I think that one of the best things you can do is make a person smile or feel good”. As a Clown for the Prince George Shrine Club , Stan has brought smiles to children in the hospital, to guests during the Festival of Trees, and to the general public while manning kettles for the Salvation Army. The opportunity to make people feel good has lead him to volunteer as the Treasurer for the Social Club at his condo complex and he has been a volunteer driver and dispatcher for the Prince George Freemason’s Cancer Car. As Stan says, “Why go to a meeting if you are going to sit there and listen to everybody else. Go there and do something.”
Well, it has certainly been to the benefit of our community that Stan has made it a mission to live up to the first paragraph of The Shriner Clown’s Prayer in both his volunteer efforts and his life in general:
“Help me to create more laughter than tears,
dispense more happiness than gloom.
Spread more cheer than despair.”