Council recognizes community volunteerism through Civic Awards

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Council presented a few deserving North Grenville residents with awards for their volunteerism and dedication to the community at the last Council meeting of 2020.

The North Grenville Civic Awards has been a tradition in the Municipality since 2009. Since its inception, more than 40 individuals and seven groups have been recognized for their efforts. With a very busy Clerk’s office, the Municipality was not able to send out a call for nominations last year, therefore this year’s awards took into consideration the work of both individuals and groups in the community for 2019 and 2020. “I’m so pleased, obviously, that we can do this right at the end of 2020 because it’s been and incredibly challenging year and community organizations of all kinds have risen to the challenge,” Mayor Nancy Peckford said. “We have busy lives and there are increasing restrictions which have really called for creativity and ingenuity when it comes to bringing our community together.”
Three out of the five civic awards were presented at the Council meeting last week.

North Grenville Council presents Barbara Lacelle
with the Arts and Culture award

Barbara Lacelle was presented with the Arts and Culture Award for her dedication to the Kemptville Youth Musical Theatre Company which enables young people (ages 12-18) to take to the stage and develop musical and performing arts interests. “Barbara has supported the performing arts and been a strong influence in the lives of many youth over the past 20 years, helping them find their voice in music and theatre,” Councillor Doreen O’Sullivan said. “As a result of her contributions, youth theatre productions have been enriched beyond measure and beyond North Grenville.” Not only has Barbara put on countless quality youth musical theatre productions over the years, but she is also an active member of the Municipality’s Arts and Culture Committee. “Barb’s enthusiasm and zest for the performing arts makes the culture in North Grenville evident time and time again, as demonstrated through her knowledge and input to Council as a valued member of the Arts and Culture Committee,” Councillor Barclay said. “Barb has created an amazing and inspiring production company and we thank you for your many years of dedication in bringing joy to the community through your love of the arts.”

North Grenville Council presents Jess Wilson with
the Exemplary Work in the Community (age 26-55) award

This year, North Grenville’s Exemplary Work in the Community (age 26-55) Award went to Jess Wilson. Jess was the driving force behind this year’s “Barbells for Boobs” fundraiser which raised over $5,000 for breast cancer research. Jess brought in many local businesses to support the fundraiser which helped bring the community together in this successful online event. “This was all done on her own initiative with great effort to coordinate the event to ensure it was conducted under public health guidelines during the pandemic,” Deputy Mayor Jim McManaman said. “Breast cancer affects so many of us in the community,” Mayor Peckford added. “Were incredible grateful for your initiative.”

North Grenville Council presents KDCA representatives Wendy Embleton and Samantha Rivet-Stevenson
with the Exemplary Work in the Community (Group) award

The Kemptville District Community Association (KDCA) was honoured this year as a group that has done amazing work in the community, particularly during the pandemic. Members Samantha Rivet-Stevenson and Wendy Embleton where at the meeting to accept the Exemplary Work in the Community (Group) Award on behalf of the KDCA. The relatively new community association is focused on fostering collaboration and cohesion in the community and its very active and enthusiastic members look for opportunities to work with other groups to strengthen what already exists in the community and to fill gaps. The KDCA clearly demonstrated their value and dedication by pivoting quickly to put together a COVID-friendly Canada Day event for the entire community. “Thank you Wendy, Samantha and the rest of the team,” Councillor Kristin Strackerjan said. “We’re excited to see what’s next.”

Two awards were not officially presented at the meeting, as their recipients couldn’t be there. Nick Charman is this year’s recipient of the Recreation, Sport and Leisure Award for his volunteerism and leadership in fitness in North Grenville through community involvement, sport and fundraising efforts. He has spent countless hours volunteering as a coach with Kemptville Warriors basketball, and as an overall health, wellness and fitness leader and advocate in the community. Nick is employed full time with the Canadian Armed Forces and is currently deployed overseas, so he could not be at the ceremony to receive his award last week. “We wish him well there and we’ll defer this award until her gets back here safely,” Deputy Mayor McManaman said.

Brian Wilson is this year’s recipient of the Exemplary Work in the Community (56 and older) Award. While he was unable to be at the ceremony, Mayor Peckford highlighted the fact that Brian has been an integral part of youth activities in North Grenville for over three decades. Brian is an advocate for children and youth in recreation through bowling, lacrosse, hockey and Cub Scouts and has been involved in many fundraising efforts. People may also recognize his voice as the announcer for the Kemptville 73s, and he has also doubled as Santa Clause over the years, bringing joy and laughter to young and old alike. “Brian has a long list of volunteerism and is very deserving of the support; he was quite sad that he couldn’t join us this evening,” Mayor Peckford said. “So we’ve assured him and his family that in the new year we will welcome him with open arms and ensure that he gets the recognition that he deserves.”

Mayor Peckford congratulated the winners and all those who were nominated for this year’s awards, adding that choosing the recipients was a challenge because of all the dedicated and passionate volunteers there are in the North Grenville community. “I think we can all agree that we are collectively amazed by the wonderful spirit of volunteerism in our community as well as their innovation and ingenuity,” she said. “Thank you to everyone who has come forward to face the challenges COVID or no COVID, but obviously for this year especially, we appreciate all the volunteers in North Grenville and we thank everyone who not only just received an award this evening but who have been a force behind our incredible organizations and incredible efforts.”

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