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Community News: I Married The Girl Next Door
May 10 in Victoria, Len Walters received the B.C. Recreation & Parks Association Presidents Award. A former Citizen of the Year, Walter sat down with PMT’s David Murray to talk about his award. [Click On Image For Full Story]
By David Murray. I got a chance to sit down and chat with Len Walters tonight. We chatted about soccer, politics, family, his career and of course Pitt Meadows.
David Murray: Thanks for doing this interview tonight Len!
Len Walters: It is my pleasure David.
DM: You were born in B.C. is that correct?
LW: Yes, I was born in Vancouver.
DM: What high school did you attend?
LW: I went to Moscrop Junior and then on to Burnaby Central, I graduated in 1974.
DM: I heard you played a lot of soccer when you were younger?
LW: Yes, I started playing for Wesburn when I was very young and went on to play for the U-18 B.C. Selects at the Canadian Championships.
DM: You played some soccer overseas as well I was told.
LW: Yes, I played in Aberdeen Scotland when I trained for a month with the Aberdeen “Dons”. I met the coach of the “Dons” when I was attending a soccer clinic in Portland (Lake Oswego). The coach there had a big influence on my life, his name was Bobby Clark.
DM: What did you do when you came back from Scotland?
LW: I really wanted to play for the Vancouver Whitecaps in the NASL. I made the U-18 Canadian National Team as a reserve player which garnered me another tryout with a NASL club the Portland Timber in 1975. Three of us from the U-18 team went down, Peter Stanley who is a Pitt Meadows resident made the team that season. When I came back from Portland I played in the Coast League for the Vancouver Firefighters.
DM: Were you working in the City of Vancouver at the time when you were travelling the globe?
LW: Yes, I would take a leave of absence so I would not lose any seniority from my job with the City, I actually tried three times to become a firefighter in Vancouver. They had a height requirement of 5’9″ and I was measured at 5’8 3/4″. They would not budge on that restriction back then so that was the end of that.
DM: When did you start full time with the City of Vancouver ?
LW: I still remember my starting date, Jan. 6th, 1975 .
DM: When did you first become a supervisor in Vancouver?
LW: It was in 1990, I became a sub-foreman. In 1994 I was promoted to Site Inspector.
DM: Did you have to go to school to attain these positions?
LW: Yes, it was the start of actually of a lot of schooling. I started by going to Kwantlen, where I took the Turf Management Program. With this under my belt I became a Field Supervisor in Vancouver.
DM: When did you become an Exempt Manager?
LW: We had just moved from Maple Ridge Deb and I and I saw an ad in the paper, Langley City was looking for a General Park Foreman which was a position that just went to an exempt position. Apparently 198 people applied for the job. I was on a short list of 5 and I got the job.
DM: Was that a manager position?
LW: I became the parks manager in the City of Langley in 1998 . In 2008 I became the Superintendent of Parks Operations.
DM: When did Deb become a part of your life?
LW: You have heard the story about the girl next door? Well that is exactly what happened. I was living in a friend’s house Sid Fulljames , he was buying the house and I was paying rent which helped him with his payments. Deb’s mom and dad lived in a rented house next door to Sid’s, where she lived with her two brothers. (both football players).
DM: Was it love at first sight?
LW: Pretty much, our first date was on Christmas Eve ,we went on to date for about 10 months and then we were married.
DM: You and Deb have two children?
LW: Yes, Scott was born in 1984 and Cayley was born in 1986.
DM: On May 10th in Victoria , you received the B.C. Recreation & Parks Association Presidents Award. I understand this award honoured individuals who demonstrated exceptional involvement, sustained contributions and great promise of a life-long commitment to the BCRPA and to the Parks & Recreation sector. It was also for helping to define the program and logistics of the BCRPA Parks & Grounds Spring Training Seminar for the past 15 years.
LW: I was extremely humbled by receiving the award.
DM: Where did you receive the award?
LW: The Symposium was at the Empress Hotel , but the Awards Banquet was at the Chrystal Ballroom across the street from the Empress.
DM: You received the Pitt Meadows Citizen of the Year award what year?
LW: It was in 2008.
DM: Deb won the award as well did she not?
LW: Yes she did, I believe it was in 2004. Our children Scott and Cayley both won the Lynn Papp Community Service award , Scott winning it in 2002 and Cayley in 2004.
DM: Wow, all four family members, that feat will never be repeated! What is Scott and Cayley doing now?
LW: Scott is teaching and has just been working in the Abbotsford, Maple Ridge and Coquitlam areas. Cayley is the Catering Manager of the Inn of the Key in New West, she currently was selected as the top 30 under 30 award winner for her success in her business.
DM: You are involved in KidSport.
LW: Yes I am the chairperson for the Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge chapter. Perry Bateson started this organization in our area a couple of years ago.
DM: I know you have a golf tournament for KidSport coming up.
LW: It is going to be on July 9th at the Pitt Meadows Golf Club. It is the Wes Durksen Memorial Golf Tournament. All proceeds from the tournament will go to KidSport.
DM: If someone is interested in participating or making a donation, how could they do so?
LW: They could contact me thru email email@example.com
DM: Was there someone that greatly influenced you in your life Len that you would like to mention?
LW: Thanks David, I think my coach Roy Rose who coached me from the time I was 10 until I turned 18.
He said “Len, I coached you all these years, One day you will have an opportunity to give back to others, make a difference in a young persons life”
DM: A wise man indeed!