To say Beverly Brisco is good-hearted is an understatement. She’s a warm hug, a woman who not only loves her community but is dedicated to helping those in need. Her journey as a volunteer is an inspiration to us all.
Growing up in Montreal, Brisco’s dad instilled in her the importance of giving back. That personal philosophy followed Brisco throughout her life.
Although Brisco was an active helper as her children were growing up, it was during her career at Sears Canada that volunteering became a lifelong passion for her.
As a long-time employee and department manager, Brisco was the store representative for the Sears Ontario Drama Festival. She also helped organize the Sears Roundup in partnership with Better Beginnings Better Futures, and many other programs that Sears associates participated in within the community.
She saw first-hand the tangible difference that volunteering makes, and she has never looked back.
“Over the years, I have been blessed to serve on many committees and boards, and work with so many amazing people,” Brisco said. “When you volunteer and truly get involved, it becomes a passion because you see the results of your efforts and the team effort it takes to achieve an organization’s goals.”
Keeping Seniors Warm is one of Brisco’s many passions.
This one-of-a-kind event is a unique partnership between the City of Greater Sudbury, the Sudbury Seniors Advisory Panel and the Keeping Seniors Warm committee. Now in its sixth year, the initiative was the brainchild of Monique Mercier, Evelyn Dutrisac and Mary Michasiw. They were concerned how older citizens often slip through the cracks, becoming more and more isolated. Many seniors in need don’t have warm winter clothing and simply don’t leave their homes.
Brisco and the committee put their hearts and souls into Keeping Seniors Warm, which provides 50 citizens with a fun day of socializing and shopping for winter necessities.
“The social aspect of this event is especially important to seniors struggling to survive on fixed incomes. They can feel alone and lose their confidence to get out into the community or enjoy time with friends.”
Another deep passion is Brisco’s commitment to the Northern Cancer Foundation.
That journey began when her husband, Hilary, was diagnosed with cancer in 2006. His terminal illness took the couple’s path to the Northern Cancer Centre, where they experienced the compassionate care of a dedicated team of medical professionals and volunteers.
“We came to understand the Cancer Centre from both a client and caregiver perspective. I just knew I had to get involved with the good work they do for families in the North.”
Brisco joined the Northern Cancer Foundation board in 2013. Their mantra, ‘Raised Here Stays Here’, is particularly meaningful to Brisco, who believes strongly in local initiatives.
“When people donate their hard-earned money to a cause, they deserve to know that all funds raised stay right here in the North to support programs and equipment that could one day provide care for them, their families or their neighbours.”
Does Brisco have any trepidation about tackling more volunteer adventures? Certainly not! In fact, she’s been busy with her team chairing the Maison McCulloch Hospice Gala set for Nov. 7 at the Caruso Club.
“This is our fifth annual event, and it promises to be over the top,” Brisco said.
Brisco is quick to emphasize that it’s never just one person who accomplishes an organization’s goals.
“It’s the synergy of the entire team — all the volunteers — that makes good things happen,” she said. “And every single dollar raised is a team effort.”
Brisco is also very active with other organizations in the community. Her work with Home Hospice North, the Sudbury Business and Professional Women’s Club, the Greater Sudbury Library Board, Bell Park Advisory Panel and others keeps her busy every day.
Volunteer words of wisdom
Beverly Brisco’s words of wisdom are simple: “Volunteering keeps you mentally alert. Every day is a day when you’ll learn something new and develop new skills.” And, her life’s motto is fearless and proactive: “Don’t just talk about it … Do it!”
Marlene Holkko Moore is a local communications professional and occasional contributor to Sudbury.com.