When Corwin Mills carried the torch into the opening ceremonies of the 2014 Newfoundland and Labrador Winter Games, it was part of a journey he has been on with his wife for over 40 years.

After giving their lives to cross-country skiing, Corwin and June Mills have been honoured as patrons of the games.

They have volunteered at Clarenville 2014, but the work that earned them recognition began much earlier.

Corwin and June Mills NL Games Opening Ceremonies

Corwin and June Mills were honoured at the opening ceremonies at the 2014 Newfoundland and Labrador Winter Games. (CBC)

As founding members of the Clarenville Nordic Ski Club in 1973, they spent decades building one of the best facilities in the province.

"We went from skiing on snowmobile trails, if we were lucky, to having 40 kilometres of groomed trails," said Corwin Mills.

"So it's changed immensely for the good."

Corwin was involved in lobbying for more skiing infrastructure, while June coached the children's ski team.

June saw how exposure to the sport could help make people more active.

"People who hardly did anything, now they're out skiing, they're going up to the huts, seeing the vistas and everything like that," she said. 

"It's been absolutely wonderful."

For Corwin, the greatest reward for their work has been watching people grow up through the system.

"It's nice to see the people that she [June] trained as coach, and we helped to ski many years ago, [that] are now parents, and their kids are coming along, so we've reached a third generation," he said. 

Those who have grown up skiing with the Mills, say the couple is highly worthy of the recognition they've received. 

"They've always been the pillar of our ski club, and always the group we can go to when we want some guidance," said Natalie Moody, who has been volunteering at the winter games.

"They're so encouraging, and it's amazing to see them as patrons of the games, because they're so deserving of it."

June and Corwin have spent most of their time volunteering at cross country skiing, but with the close of that event, they will continue to assist with other events at the games.