West Hants councillor rewarded for lifetime of community work

Ashley Thompson athompson@hantsjournal.ca
Published on February 8, 2013

For as long as she can remember, Shirley Pineo has leant a hand in her community.

As a child growing up in Mantua, she delivered baked goods her mother prepared for elderly neighbours in poor health, she helped seniors with their yard work and gardening, ran errands for those who could not do it for themselves and volunteered for pretty well anything she could assist with.

“My parents were very community-minded, so they kind of encouraged me to get involved with things,” said Pineo, the daughter of Ralph and Gwen Blackburn, in a recent interview.

In high school, Pineo helped with a hot lunch program, helped teach younger students the basics of volleyball, basketball, badminton and baseball and tutored students in math and English.

She grew up to be one of the founding members of the Brooklyn Volunteer Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary, a volunteer with guiding, scouting, youth group and Sunday School activities, and a member of the home and school associations serving the Brooklyn District Elementary School and Hants West Rural High.

“I just feel that everybody should volunteer. Even if it’s just a little bit, it helps out the community,” the mother of three said.

Pineo also canvassed for the Canadian Cancer Society and Salvation Army, and became involved with the Poplar Grove Community Hall, Newport Landing Cemetery and Avon River Heritage Museum.

The lifelong volunteer says she has always gained a great sense of satisfaction from serving her community, and expecting nothing in return.

Pineo says volunteering always seemed like a natural thing to do because she was encouraged to do so from a young age.

“I believe that every student in high school should be required to serve as a volunteer in order to graduate. It is a wonderful experience that can last your whole life, and I can’t think of a better way to give back to your community and make it a better place to live.”

Hants West MLA Chuck Porter presented Pineo with aQueen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal at his constituency office in Windsor Jan. 28.

Pineo, a former school board representative who has been serving as a councillor for the Municipality of West Hants for 18 years, was nominated for the medal by a resident living in her district, which spans from Avondale to the Burlingtons.

“It says to me that I have been recognized by my community and that really is an amazing feeling,” she said, displaying her medal.

“I know that a lot of volunteers do it and never get recognized. I feel that everyone who volunteers deserves a medal.”

In addition to sitting on committees of council, Pineo has served as a board member for the Annapolis Valley Regional Library, Annapolis Valley Work Activity, Committee for Peaceful Living, Victorian Order of Nurses, Valley Community Fibre Network, Library Boards of Nova Scotia and Women in Local Government.