Ron Funk's sporting life has followed a somewhat natural progression. An outstanding player in his youth, Ron turned to coaching when his son was ready to enter sports and then officiating when his son became a man.
And although his spare time is often filled with countless umpiring and refereeing jobs, for Ron, that's just the way it goes.
"I think I should be doing it," he says with conviction.
A softball and fastpitch player in his youth, Ron proudly recalls batting over .400 for most of his adult playing days. The Chilliwack-born-and-raised athlete also enjoyed his time on the soccer pitch as well as at the local rink playing hockey.
When son Jesse started playing soccer, it was also the start of Ron roaming the sidelines as coach. As Jesse progressed up the ranks, so too did Ron, shadowing his boy until his U-18 season.
The move to officiating seemed natural for Ron. His even temperament and sense of humour served him well to defuse potentially volatile situations with fans and parents alike. Although there have been many controversial calls, Ron says taking the "heat" is just part of the job.
"You have to stand by your call," he says.
And when Ron takes a stand, well, he's not easily swayed. A member of the Broadway and Mennonite Brethren Church, Ron says his commitment to officiating comes first, even if that means missing the odd Sunday service.
"The games always come first," he says. "I do as many as I can."
Helping him with his heavy officiating workload is wife Margaret.
"She goes online and makes sure I get all the games I want."
Evenings and weekends spent in all sorts of weather have never deterred Ron from volunteering his time for both the Chilliwack Football Club and Chilliwack Minor Baseball. He "unselfishly dedicates hours of his time to young people" and "rarely says no to a need that arises," says his Community Sport Heroes nominator Brad Hagkull.
"Although I know he earns an income from being an official, I know firsthand that he does not spend a dollar on himself," says Hagkull. "He channels it back into prizes, scholarships and gifts for the youth he serves."
When asked how long he plans to officiate youth sports, Ron points out the longevity of fellow 2010 Community Sport Hero Gary Wagner.
"He's almost 70 and he's still umpiring, so why shouldn't I?" Ron answers without hesitation. "It's what I like to do."
And the Chilliwack sporting community would be all the better for it.
"His commitment to young people is second to none," says Hagkull. "He has been serving the sports needs of young people in Chilliwack for decades and continues to model his belief in the next generation of athletes."
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