Ian Staton gets ready to volunteer at another Alberni Valley Bulldogs’ BC Hockey League game. (PHOTO COURTESY ORLANDO DELANO)

Ian Staton gets ready to volunteer at another Alberni Valley Bulldogs’ BC Hockey League game. (PHOTO COURTESY ORLANDO DELANO)

VALLEY SENIORS: Ian Staton gives back to the community he has loved for 50 years

Career in forest industry gave way to numerous volunteer opportunities for Port Alberni man


Special to the AV News

“Vancouver Island is one of the best places you can find anywhere in the world!” This was one of the first comments Ian Staton made while we spoke during this interview.

Staton has lived in the Alberni Valley for almost 50 years, both making his living as a worker in the forest industry and by giving his time as a volunteer to many local organizations.

Born in the United Kingdom in 1946, Staton and his family moved to Canada when he was two years old. “We first landed in Halifax and soon after we moved to Alberta, where we stayed for two years. There my mom worked as a nanny and my father served in the military,” he said. From Alberta, the young family then moved to Victoria, BC.

After doing his regular schooling in Victoria he moved to Nanaimo and enrolled in studies to become an equipment operator for the forest industry. “In 1969 I married my wife Nell and we moved to the northern part of the Island. By 1974, she said that she would like us to move to the city; that meant to Port Alberni, and so we did.”

Unfortunately, on Dec. 6, 1991, Staton was diagnosed with leukemia. This serious setback in his life motivated him to join the Port Alberni branch of the Canadian Cancer Society as volunteer in 1993. He acted in many capacities, including Peer Support Group facilitator (he co-facilitates with Betty Argatow); treasurer; fundraising for cancer research, and office volunteer. The local Canadian Cancer Society had an office in the old Alberni Mall, and was led by Sally Hodgson, the coordinator of the organization.

“I am very grateful for the great support I have received from my wife, not only during the critical stages of my disease, but throughout all the years since my recovering,” he said. “She keeps my calendar of activities up to date and encourages me to keep active.”

After his retirement from the forest field in 2004, Staton worked as a security guard, primarily in the health care industry.

Nowadays, he continues providing assistance to the Cancer Society by directing cancer patients to the society in Vancouver, as our local branch is no longer operational; and by helping with the peer support program for recovering cancer patients.

He is also involved in other community programs and organizations, such as “Read and Feed”, coordinated by Sally Anderson; “Better at Home “ with Lynn Turner; the “Ambassadors”, a summer tourist information program for visitors at Cathedral Grove and the weekly cruise trips for visitors on the MV Frances Barkley; and volunteer work at the Alberni Valley Bulldogs and Port Alberni Bombers hockey games.

“And I must add that I also take great pride in my potted Dahlias that fill my backyard with color in the summer,” Staton added.

John Richardson, also a recognized volunteer in the Valley, has known Staton from their volunteer work through the Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Centre. “I spent some time volunteering with him around the Valley. Ian’s a really nice guy, very personable and friendly. A great guy to spend some time with! We actually share some British heritage as well and like me he’s looking to travel again this year.”

In closing, Staton says: “I will continue to volunteer with groups in the Alberni Valley. I get a great deal of satisfaction and feel it keeps me connected to the community.”

Alberni ValleySeniors