Name: Bob Honcharuk
City You Volunteer in: Durham Region (Driving out of Scarborough and Pickering
Why did you get involved with Wheels of Hope?
In the 1980's, I drove my classic convertible for the annual Daffodil Parade in downtown Toronto, up and down University Avenue and Yonge Street. After the parade, all celebrities, drivers and CCS staff congregated at the Sheridan Centre Hotel, where I learned a bit about the Canadian Cancer Society.
The parade was cancelled after that, and I felt lost without any other volunteering duties. About four years ago, I noticed an advertisement in the Pickering News Advertiser for volunteer drivers. I applied, thinking I would get to do more parades, but instead found out about Wheels of Hope. This challenge was exactly what I was looking for.
What is your favourite thing about volunteering for Wheels of Hope?
In the 40 - 45 years that I worked for a living, I was never on time for work, despite enjoying most of what I did and being good at the roles that I held. Since joining Wheels of Hope, I jump out of bed whenever the alarm goes off. I find myself up before my alarm, even when my alarm is set for 5 am and I know I’ll be driving for long hours that day. I enjoy this opportunity very much, and sleep well every night knowing that I have helped people in need. How many people go to bed every night knowing they have only done good things for as many people as they can?
Why is it important to you to test yourself regularly for COVID-19?
I have been advocating the use of the COVID rapid tests for quite some time now. I have limited tests right now, but am driving 3-4 times per week, taking as many people as possible to their appointments. Do I want to infect someone that is immunocompromised with something that they may not be able to fight off?
What is your advice for people who want to get involved?
My advice to people who want to get involved with the Wheels of Hope program is to enjoy yourself and the people you meet. COVID has limited our contact with others, and we may feel uncertain about the future or our lives, but watch the people you drive - they may have more life in them than you do! Driving for Wheels of Hope will change your outlook on life. I’m 74 years old, but feel 40 years old – without the Wheels of Hope program, I don’t know what I would feel. It keeps me looking forward to tomorrow.
Bob Honcharuk, Wheels of Hope Volunteer Driver with Wheels of Hope Official Vehicle.