Now that Jeff Marynowski is retired, he can finally get some work done.

“It’s unbelievable, all the stuff, the things that had piled up over the years because I was so busy volunteering,” said the former head planner with Highways and Public Works. “It doesn’t feel like I’m catching up at all.”

If you’re wondering just how much volunteering Marynowski was doing, the answer is this: enough that the City of Whitehorse named Marynowski the 2016 volunteer of the year. He was given the award in April, during a ceremony at the High Country Inn.

Marynowski is the president of the Porter Creek Community Association and the vice-president of Crime Stoppers. He’s on the board of directors for both the Klondike Snowmobile Association and the Friends of McIntyre Creek. He also acts as director of the Whitehorse Police RCMP Consultation Group.

Marynowski, who lives in Porter Creek, moved to the Yukon from Saskatchewan in 1982. He had spent the previous summer working as a student (he studied civil engineering technology at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology) and was offered a job in Whitehorse the following year.

“Same old story,” he said. “Four-month term that got extended to six, and then nine, and then 36 years later, I’m still here.”

Marynowski says it’s the sparseness of the population, easy access to the outdoors, and the fascinating history that keeps him here. That, and his job with public works.

“There was never a dull moment with the highways in the Yukon,” he said. With its unique topography and ever-changing weather conditions, he was always busy.

But not so busy that he didn’t find time to start volunteering.

He thinks it was between 2006, when Bev Buckway was elected mayor, and 2008, when Friends of McIntyre Creek became a subcommittee of the Porter Creek Community Association, that he got involved as a volunteer for the first time.

Marynowski went to an association meeting about the City’s plans to make a subdivision along McIntyre Creek (“basically mow down the trees and pave it all and concrete it all and build houses,” he said). After the first one, he went to another, and another, and another.

“Until one day all of a sudden there was an AGM and I was nominated president,” he says.

Since retiring in October, Marynowski has been cleaning his home office, fixing up things in the garage and washing his vehicles well – both inside and out.

“Just doing stuff that makes you feel good when you finish,” he said.

Marynowski isn’t currently looking for additional volunteer responsibilities, but, then again, he never has been.

“It all depends what comes along,” he said. “A person likes to make our community, our territory, our country a better place to live. If something comes up and I feel my heart and my morals and my ethics are into it, I probably will… There’s just a feeling of fulfillment and a feeling that you’re making the world, at somewhere between a local level and a global level, just a better place for everybody.”