‘Evie’ hasn’t slowed down yet

Monday evening’s recognition of Evelyn Metke as “Citizen of the Year” in Fort Frances recognizes her years of volunteering for the community.
I have known “Evie” from the time I was 14 years old and she had made a decision to take her bronze medallion course.
It seemed unusual that an older woman, who was my mother’s age, would be taking her Royal Life Saving Society bronze medallion class with a group of teenagers, but “Evie” believed she should be able to look after her children on Rainy Lake.
She challenged the class at the Point Park during lessons.
Fontana’s motorboat ramp attached alongside the barge with the office was our lesson site. Oftentimes, a white painted rock was tossed into the water and on a single dive, each of us had to retrieve it from the weeds that grew around the area.
You had to be almost on top of the rock to see it as no one wore goggles back then. Evie became the master finding that rock, often on the first dive, and covering a great distance underwater.
Rain or shine, on calm days or windy days driving across Sand Bay, Evelyn never missed a lesson. She was committed.
Evie was a stubble jumper and coming to Fort Frances challenged her to be comfortable with the lake and swimming in it. My parents were friends of she and Herman, her husband, and my siblings grew up knowing her three children.
Sometimes the “Citizen of the Year” is recognized for a special community-wide event. Others have been recognized for their contributions both in the community and beyond.
Mary Evelyn Metke is being recognized for a lifetime commitment to volunteerism within the community and district.
Since the beginning of Meals on Wheels in 1960 here, Evie has been delivering them. Now 93, she still continues to pick up the meals and make the run for both the Fort Frances Lions Club and Knox United Church.
Despite poor knees and an arthritic hip, Evie still climbs in and out of her van, loads the trays, and climbs up stairs to deliver those meals in the setting hours of the day.
I asked Evie one day why she still continues. Her answer: “If I don’t help, who will do the deliveries?”
At one time, four ladies travelled and chummed together in their senior years. Kim, Evelyn’s eldest son, referred to them as Fort Frances’ “Golden Girls.”
In their years travelling together, Marg Miller, Edith Newman, Delsie Cumming, and Evelyn Metke seldom–if ever–missed a tea, a bake sale, a bazaar, or supper supporting various groups in the community.
They believed it was their personal responsibility to provide support to those groups.
Evelyn continues to sell tickets for the Lions Club and frequently can be found at Safeway–sometimes with the other remaining “Golden Girl,” Delsie Cumming.
Still active, Evelyn remains committed to her church, to the community, to the Rainy River District Festival of the Performing arts, the local public library, and the La Verendrye and Rainycrest auxiliaries.
At 93 years young, she has hardly slowed as a volunteer.

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