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Stalwart street worker Chuck McCandless earns city's Scroll of Honour Monday
Chuck McCandless’ well of compassion for Cowichan’s homeless folks landed him Duncan’s Scroll of Honour Monday.
The tireless outreach worker, and beloved Irish banjo man, was touched by the honour, yet shared his kudos with the many who support him and the valley’s needy.
“It’s not just me,” said McCandless who was instrumental in seeing Cowichan’s Warmland Shelter built. “It’s this community.
“I’m really grateful, and obviously moved.”
McCandless’ family was in city chambers witnessing him receive one of Duncan’s highest honours as the go-to guy about homelessness in recent years.
He can often be found downtown hosting Meals on the Ground at the former Mound site, or helping needy folks 24/7, explained Councillor Martin Barker, himself a Warmland volunteer.
“His advocacy for those who need help from society is continuous,” said Barker.
“I often see on his Facebook laments about funding for the homeless — Chuck’s contributions go well beyond doing his job.”
McCandless started work with Victoria’s John Howard Society in ‘96. By 2006, he was in Cowichan. With help from the Canadian Mental Health Association, he started work toward Cowichan’s much-needed shelter.
Cold-weather relief came at MLA Doug Routley’s office, McAdam Park’s change rooms, and Bethel Baptist and Duncan United church basements.
Warmland opened in December 2009. It’s now home to some 60 folks.
McCandless’ career of caring officially ends when he retires in April. Questions remain about how McCandless will stop himself from volunteering to help street people he’s come to know so well.