STEWIACKE, N.S. – There was a time, Jim McMorran was sitting alone, thinking about ending his life.
He even had it planned out.
But a timely phone call from a friend, just checking in on him, changed everything.
Today, helping others through involvement with the Canadian Mental Health Association is one way he gives back, as a volunteer.
“I sought out the branch in Halifax, where I was living, as a source of help,” he said. “I still struggle. This is an illness you can deal with, but I’m not sure you can ever cure.
“It’s important to elevate awareness around mental illness. It’s a sickness, and we need to make sure that gets out, so people will be accepting.”
McMorran became a volunteer with the Halifax branch. After moving to Stewiacke, he volunteered with the Colchester-East Hants branch, where he currently serves as president.
“I worked for Boy Scouts Canada, and working for Scouts you very quickly realize that if it wasn’t for volunteers some organizations wouldn’t exist,” he said.
He helped out at the Museum of Natural History while in Halifax, teaching children about whales. He volunteered with Symphony Nova Scotia, picking up musicians and conductors at the airport and giving them rides.
A photographer, McMorran began organizing art shows for Stewiacke Town Days. This led to creation of the Winding River Art Gallery, where he was the first president. Along with Jeff Gray, he also founded the Stewiacke Culture Showcase.
McMorran is currently secretary of the Town of Stewiacke’s business and tourism committee, a member of the police advisory board, and secretary of Loge la France Masonic Lodge.
On April 9, he was one of 77 people from across Nova Scotia recognized for his efforts, during a ceremony in Halifax, as recipient of a provincial volunteer award.
“It’s quite an honour,” he said. “It took a while to sink in and I’m still kind of overwhelmed. It does make me realize people appreciate what I’m doing.
“I like to feel like I’m doing something worthwhile, and volunteering is good for me because it keeps me busy and alert.”
Other award winners from Colchester County
The Bible Hill Fire Brigade Ladies Auxiliary
The auxiliary has been working for almost 40 years, raising funds for school libraries and IT equipment, breakfast program, the hospital, and Relay for Life.
Town of Truro
Chestnut joined the Truro Fire Brigade in 1974. He has served many times as an officer, and fought many fires.
Millbrook First Nation
Johnson helps with many community events, including the Saint Anne de Beaupre trip, NS Mi’kmaw Summer Games, 3D Archery Club, search and rescue, t-Ball and minor hockey.
Tucker is president of the North Shore Recreation Centre and the Tatamagouche and Area Minor Hockey Associaiton, as well as a volunteer with many other community events.