His name isn’t Earl, and he certainly doesn’t have a list of things he needs to do to improve karma like the character from NBC’s hit show My Name Is Earl.

 

 

But in the streets of Banff, however, residents say a man with a long moustache and a mullet spends most of his days walking around the streets giving the homeless food and clothing.

 


He’s also seen cleaning up litter on a busy sidewalk along the mountain town’s busy main street without being paid for his efforts.



Residents say the man who they call "Crazy Larry" is simply someone who goes around making a difference in the community.



"He’s such an active volunteer, he’s always the first one to help people out when they’re in need," said Karen Suchowersky with Volunteer Banff.



Every Christmas time, Larry Melnik will also be seen handing out custom-made grocery bags, hats, gloves, sweaters, socks and little decorated trees during what he calls his personal 72-hour, three-day marathon of hope to care for the needy in Banff.



Melnik, a local skier and mountain biker, also encourages youth to leave the world of drugs and drinking in Banff by founding his own youth leadership club.



"There are a lot of things going wrong in the world and a lot of it starts with our leaders," said Melnik.



"To lead is to lead by example — that’s why I am trying to make a difference in the world."



Melnik was one out of eight Alberta volunteers recognized for their extraordinary efforts by the province’s Wild Rose Foundation as he was given the 2007 Stars of Alberta award yesterday at the Royal Alberta Museum wearing a ball cap and a ski sweater.



Close to 2.5 million volunteers contribute 449 million hours to community initiatives annually, according to the province.




jeff.cummings@metronews.ca