January 15, 2013
Paul deGroot
Paul deGroot
Paul DeGroot is an LO volunteer who stands out in a crowd. Even in a big crowd, his ever-present Dutch boy cap makes it easy to recognize the dedicated member.

Since 1985, DeGroot has spent a great deal of his spare time volunteering for the association at such events as Canada Blooms, Congress and Expo.

“Back in 1985, my boss (Neil Vanderkruk of Connon Nurseries/NVK Holdings) told me I was to go to work at Congress. I’m glad he did. I had so much fun at the show that I decided to start volunteering at other events run by the association.

From there he was soon involved in activities of the Golden Horseshoe Chapter, especially manning the barbecue at the Chapter’s popular chicken roast. It wasn’t too long until he was a member of the Chapter board executive, a position he continues today. He is also a member of the LO Show Committee.

He hasn’t missed working Canada Blooms since it began 17 years ago at the Toronto Congress Centre. It wasn’t long until he added Expo to his list of projects. His volunteer tasks first included set-up and tear-down, but evolved into working during the show. “The last couple of years I have done the meet-and-greet at Blooms, and I really enjoy talking to the public about our industry and association,” says DeGroot.

Paul DeGroot doesn’t just give of his free time toward the association. He is also very involved in fund-raising for his church’s activities in Latin America. As a matter of fact, last year after being on his feet for a number of days greeting visitors to the LO garden, the following day he was sheparding kids door-to-door as part of his church’s fund-raising event.

“I get such a great feeling having done something for someone who deserves it,” says DeGroot. “Volunteering at the shows provides such a wonderful sense of comradeship. We are working together to achieve a common goal.”

Paul DeGroot’s record of volunteerism continues at Congress 2013 from Jan. 8 to 10. The tall guy with the ever-present Dutch boy hat will again be very visible, doing what needs to be done.