Octogenarian Volunteer of the Year

Contributed by  Donna Mazzei of the Sudbury Ontario Stake

  • 2 August 2013

"None of us should become so busy in our formal Church assignments that there is no room left for quiet Christian service to our neighbors."

- Pres. Spencer W. Kimball
(Conference Report, Apr. 1976, 71)

This June was a banner month for a member of the Sudbury Stake in North Bay, Ontario. From hundreds of Canadian nominees in the “Salute to Senior Service” contest, Joseph “Lorne” Cutts was honoured at a special ceremony on July 3rd at the North Bay Regional Health Centre as both the Provincial and National winner for 2013.

Often we hear comments about the limitations of the increasing number of aging adults in today’s society, but there are legions of men and women past retirement age who go quietly about the business of serving others, not seeking the praise of the world.

“Changing the Face of Aging,” is the mission of the Home Instead Senior Care network, sponsors of the contest in Canada and the United States. Outstanding seniors who are actively engaged in volunteer activities across the country are nominated in recognition of their inspiring contributions to their community. Eighty-one years young, Lorne is credited with nearly 10,000 volunteer hours at the health centre over the past fifteen years.

As a member of the Church, Lorne is just such a man, living his life in accordance with Christ’s teachings in Matthew 25:40 where it is written … “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”

After spending 24 days as a patient in March 1998, Lorne decided that the hospital needed more volunteers; he was retired, widowed and had time to give. Volunteering now enriches his own life, keeps his mind and body active, and he feels good about being able to “give back.” He spent several terms as President of the Volunteer Association, and is now the friendly face almost daily at the Information Desk, dedicating approximately 65 hours each month.

Lorne’s charitable efforts extend beyond his service at the hospital. Described as the “ultimate volunteer” by Sandra Etches, who has been a Church member friend since 1977, says that he is always on the front line when it comes to helping others including feeding the missionaries and generously providing rides to the widows on Sunday!

Another Church friend, Ian Jenner, expressed his pleasure and joy in simply being associated over the years with Lorne who, he says, is a quiet, unassuming individual who “gives tirelessly of his time and talents, displays a truly Christlike approach to all he does, keeps his good deeds to himself, and truly goes about doing much good!”

Indeed, it can be said that Lorne takes to heart the second great commandment of Christ which is to “love thy neighbour as thyself” (Matthew 22:39), and follows the admonition that “men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness.” (Doctrine & Covenants 58:27)

Each Provincial winner receives, courtesy of Home Instead, Inc., a $500 donation to a non-profit charity of his choice. An additional $5,000 donation translates into a total bequest of $5,500 which Lorne has announced will go to the North Bay Regional Health Centre where he continues to give much of himself. “I am so thrilled that my gift of time has translated into this financial gift for the state-of-the-art central fetal monitoring system for some of our newest and youngest patients,” he said.