Helping others has been a long-time lifestyle for Wayne and Wilma Hambly

Jim Day
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Wayne and Wilma Hambly of Charlottetown have teamed up well over the years as community-minded people eager to lend their time and talent to many important causes. The couple have also just donated $250,000 to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

Wayne Hambly views his community work as an education.

If that is the case, the successful Charlottetown businessman surely has earned the equivalent of a PhD in volunteerism.

His wife, Wilma, has more than held her own as well in leading one fundraising charge after another.

The charitable couple has made a life — and a lifestyle — out of helping others.

Both have had their hands in numerous ventures to improve the quality of life for Islanders. They have placed particular focus on health-related charities and causes — an area for attention greatly influenced by Wilma being a registered nurse.

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital has benefited considerably from the volunteer efforts of the Hamblys.

Wayne’s key involvement began in the 1980s as co-chair of the first C.A.T. Scan campaign along with the late Dr. Athol Roberts. Together their team of volunteers brought the first C.A.T. scan to P.E.I.

Then in the mid-90s, Wilma served as chair of the QEH Foundation and also agreed to take on the role as chair of the Friends for Life Campaign. She and another group of volunteers succeeded in bringing a multi-slice C.A.T. scan to the Island.

“There was a lot of excitement during both these large fund-raising projects and the enthusiasm was felt throughout the entire province,’’ says Barb Dunphy, CEO of the QEH Foundation.

“Both Wayne and Wilma knew the significance of their efforts and that their leadership would profoundly advance health care on the Island. Our hospital was fortunate to have them at the helm during both campaigns.’’

Wilma served as chair at a time when the couple’s son Matthew was battling cancer.

“And that was a very emotional, traumatizing thing at the time,’’ she recalls.

“I know we’ve never forgotten just how valuable that hospital resource was for use in this circumstance as it is for every family,’’ adds Wayne.

“Matthew was fortunate to have the kind of attention and care that got him through this thing.’’

Now the couple is digging deeply into their own pockets to once again help the hospital.

A $250,000 cheque has been cut to allow the QEH to complete the day surgery redevelopment that could have taken months more reach the $2 million target.

The Hamblys had reservations about allowing their large contribution to be made public, but in the end saw value in possibly encouraging others to step forward with their cheque books.

“There are lots of people in P.E.I. that can make bigger donations than that, that is for sure,’’ says Wayne. “So maybe somebody will be motivated by it a bit.’’

Wayne says he wouldn’t “even attempt to put a figure’’ on how much he and Wilma have helped raise over the years for a host of causes, but the pair stress that their fundraising has always been part of a team effort involving many dedicated people. Nor is he comfortable estimating how much he and his wife have donated over the years.

“We would like to think that our time was our biggest donation,’’ Wilma is quick to interject.

Volunteering has been a huge time commitment for both Wilma and Wayne for many, many years.

For Wilma, the mother of three started giving freely of her time with Home and School. Soon her community work snowballed. Organizations started calling her left, right and centre to fundraise. Time and again, she agreed to help.

“It just went on and on,’’ she says.

Wilma puts her own spin on the famous JFK rallying call to help explain why she has consistently stepped up to volunteer for good causes.

“Ask not what your community can do for you,’’ she says, “but what you can do for your community.’’

Wayne’s community involvement is dizzying.

In addition to the QEH, the United Way of P.E.I., Holland College, Spring Park United Church and the Rotary Club of Charlottetown are among the many benefactors of Wayne’s time and talent.

Then there is the ongoing remarkable run as chair of the Fathers of Confederation Buildings Trust — an institution Wayne terms “phenomenally important’’ — dating back to 1993.

Hambly first quips that he never learned how to say no, but upon serious reflection concedes that he views his considerable charitable and community work as pay back.

“The community has been very good to us in terms of business,’’ says Hambly, who has carved a very comfortable living out of furniture, RV, mini homes and rental property businesses.

“We just have always seen that as part of our responsibility. I don’t know whether that sounds highfalutin or not but I think it is really the truth.’’

Wilma says the old adage that one gets back more than they give when volunteering has always proven true for the Hamblys.

“It is very gratifying because when you are doing volunteer work, there’s not a lot of people saying get out of my face...mostly when you’re working with volunteers, people are very good,’’ she says.

Wayne says he has derived great satisfaction from his diverse community work that spans many years and numerous causes.

“If there was one thing that I would say that I was taking out of all of this was a tremendous education all the way through the piece in terms of dealing with people, broadening horizons, just understanding life a whole lot better. That’s been really the paycheque for me.’’

Organizations: Holland College, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, QEH Foundation Islanders Home and School United Way Rotary Club of Charlottetown Confederation Buildings Trust

Geographic location: Charlottetown, P.E.I.

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  • upwest proud
    March 29, 2014 - 15:59

    A fine example of truly great islanders, God bless you both. some people are so ready to tear other down, Wayne and Wilma build people up!