Small business: the engine of volunteerism

Published on April 15, 2010
Jeff Dunfield

By Nadine Eagles-Harvie


Jeff and Donna Dunfield are more than just successful business owners they are the engine behind numerous community initiatives.  

It comes as no surprise that their family owned business, Jeff’s Service Center in Falmouth, was chosen as this year’s provincial representative for Volunteer Business of the Year for the Municipality of West Hants. 

West Hants recreation director Kathy Kehoe said it’s hard to list how many community projects the Dunfield's have had a hand in.

“They are involved in so many things, but what really impressed me were all those things we weren’t even aware of. They just quietly do so much.”

For 18 years Jeff Dunfield was a member of the Windsor Lions Club and for 15 years has hauled the Princess Windsor float.  Jeff’s Service Center hauls several floats during the run of a year for local parades and community celebrations.

The couple was instrumental in creating the Falmouth mini-park and reviving the annual Teddy Bear Jamboree.  They have also served on the Falmouth Hall committee. 

As members of the Windsor and West Hants JC’s, Dunfield helped to operate the Windsor Tourist Bureau, raise funds for community organizations and open the first beer garden festival at the Hants County Exhibition.

Dunfield has also mentored many young people through the Scouting program and has worked for more than a decade with community college peer groups.

But the person who really gets things done he said is his wife Donna.  “She doesn’t want to be front and center, she in the background keeping up the fort; she’s the brains behind everything.”

“Over the years we have always been involved in volunteerism in some way.  We take from our community so we don’t mind putting back into it; that’s what keeps a community strong.”

Jeff’s Service Center has also been involved with the Winterpalooza, Sam Slick Festival and Pumpkin Festival.

“I don’t know why but we always seem to pick-up on things,” he said, usually projects that are floundering.

“I just say get on with it and get it done; make a decision, make a move. You do something for a while and then the time comes to walk away and let someone new have the opportunity.”

Dunfield admits he finds it hard to say no.

 “I’m a soft ear for sure and there’s a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes and costs that people don’t see, but its two-fold; getting involved is good for business.”

Good stewardship is a key component to doing business, he said. Jeff’s Service Center had received a Provincial Environmental Award and Dunfield has served as president of the Retail Gas Dealers Association.

Kehoe said good business people like the Dunfields are the backbone to many community organizations. “It’s not always in monetary ways they contribute, sometimes it’s their knowledge and experience that we benefit from.

They are just good business people and it’s wonderful to have them here. We’ve been fortunate to have so many businesses that support our community.”

Dunfield said the volunteer award came as a surprise.  “I’ve just got so busy this year, I haven’t had time to look backwards or sideways.”

He said it means a lot to be recognized. “I can think of many people just as deserving. All we really ever ask for is a thank you.”

“We’ve got a lot of good people in this area involved with volunteering; all people that have done their fair share,” he said. 

“Over the years we’ve met some really wonderful people and some really good kids.”