Tax season is drudgery for most. But for Suresh Murarka, it’s a chance to give back.
On Wednesday, Sept. 26, Murarka was presented with Deltassist’s Karen Johnson Volunteer of the Year award for his efforts to help people in need with their income tax.
The award was created to remember volunteer manager Karen Johnson after she passed away from cancer 10 years ago, and honours “a volunteer who goes above and beyond in the community,” Deltassist board of directors vice-president Rod Binder said.
This year, that volunteer was Murarka.
“Suresh truly embodies what it means to volunteer,” Binder said about Murarka during the award ceremony. “To give of himself to those in need, to take the time with every person he meets and get to know them a little bit more.”
Murarka has been volunteering with Deltassist since the beginning of 2011, and was described as Deltassist’s “in-house tax expert.”
“Clients ask for him by name,” Binder said. “He is very patient in explaining tax information to them.”
“He never gets upset — have you ever had an accountant look at you with that face? — he never gets upset about anything. Even when you show up with that wacky shoe box of your last many, many years history.”
Murarka is a kind, patient man who always made time for the people who came to him with their taxes, Binder said, and would even have people come back after their first session to finish their returns. He not only volunteers during tax season, but also returns every month afterwards to help those who missed the deadline.
Binder said no one could remember a time he called in sick at the last minute, and he always arrives with a smile on his face.
Murarka was certainly smiling the whole time he received his award. But the award wasn’t the true honour, he said.
“I’m delighted … when I see the smiles on the faces of the people when they leave, because most of the people I help are people who are living month-to-month, day-to-day,” he said. “They are so happy they are going to continue getting … social assistance coming to them.”