Prestigious National Award for a Kelowna resident

Dick Auty

Freemasons are typically low-key and unassuming in their good works. But every now and again one of them is publicly recognized.

On September 5, 2019 at Government House, Victoria, the province’s Lieutenant Governor is awarding Kelowna’s Dick Auty the Governor General’s Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers, in recognition of Dick’s 21 year record of service for the Masonic Cancer Car program in the Okanagan Valley. Since 1998 the cancer car service has transited 8000 individuals to radiation and chemotherapy treatments, making 10,000 patient trips/year. There is a Masonic cancer vehicle in Penticton, Vernon, Kamloops, and Kelowna, and over 180 drivers and 20 people handling dispatch.

People are driven from their homes to chemo or radiation treatment and home again; some visiting from out of town stay at the Cancer Society’s lodge. 

“Dick was important in founding the Okanagan cancer car program and has been with it since its inception. He typically puts in between 25 to 30 hours/week and has been doing this continuously for the past 21 years”, states Carsten Osterhold, a prominent Freemason. “He schedules the drivers and dispatchers, does the accounting, pays the bills, gets the vehicles maintained, monitors the servicing out of town, and handles all of the issues of personnel and cars that may arise”. Rod Macintosh was a dispatcher for 11 years, and nominated Dick for the award. “

If it wasn’t for Dick, I don’t think the program would have gotten off the ground, nor would it have been sustained. It isn’t the hours he puts in, it’s the diverse things he has to deal with in those hours. Everything from being a maintenance manager to a diplomat”.

Province wide, there are comparable programs in Vancouver (beginning in 1989), the Island, and Prince George; and for 5 years Dick was chairman of the entire jurisdiction. Osterhold quoted one time Freemason Sir Winston Churchill: “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”