The passing of longtime Canada Cup volunteer Frank Demaris has inspired organizers of the South Surrey softball tournament to create an award in his honour.
Demaris was an integral member of the extended Canada Cup family since 1999, when he joined to help – “not because he had a daughter in the sport (he didn’t), but because he believed in community and wanted to volunteer to contribute to his,” tournament organizers stated Thursday (Feb. 24).
Demaris died of congestive heart failure on Feb. 6. He was 92.
For 26 years Demaris led the transportation and logistics team for the tournament, serving as “the first friendly face that international teams met as they arrived in Vancouver and the last to wish them safe travels on their return home,” event organizers say.
“The impact of Frank’s contribution to our city and community can never be fully measured, as there is no way to quantify or calculate how impactful his ambassadorship of our city, province and country was to the athletes, coaches, sport delegates and dignitaries from around the world who thought better of our tournament and city because of Frank.”
To honour Demaris, the Canada Cup has partnered with BC Amateur Sports Fund to create the Frank Demaris Volunteer Spirit Award, to support a female athlete who competes in the tournament and also demonstrates the spirit of volunteerism. Tax-deductible donations for the new award can be made online, bcamateursportfund.org.
Demaris will also be honoured during the 2022 Canada Cup this summer. “We hope to do so in a way he would have approved of, first and foremost with a smile,” say planners of the tournament, to be played June 17-26 at Softball City following a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic.
Demaris was in hospice in recent weeks, according to Canada Cup chair Greg Timm, and until the end continued to enjoy life the best he could.
“He was one of those shining-light guys, always happy when he was around people,” Timm said. “When I die I might have 15 people at my funeral, but Frank will have a thousand. He was well known in the trucking business and knew so many people. He’ll be missed.”
A celebration of life for Demaris is planned May 28 at Elgin Hall (14250 Crescent Rd.), between 1 and 4 p.m.
Very much a family man, he had nine children – six girls and three boys – and retired from work just two years ago.
“Frank embodied the excellent volunteerism which, for decades, has defined the Canada Cup,” says a post on the Demaris award website. “Our organizing committee, much because of Frank, has become synonymous for ‘Random Acts of Kindness’ from our spirited volunteers. We at the Canada Cup continue to hear stories of Frank’s kindness and incredible efforts to welcome guests from every corner of the globe in a way that made them forever, ‘Canadians in Spirit.’”
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