Bradley issues annual Mayor’s Honours List

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Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley has released the 2011 version of his Honours List.

In a tradition began by the late Mayor Marceil Saddy in 1981, Bradley uses the list to “honour citizens and groups in the community or surrounding area who have been instrumental in improving the quality of life or making a significant contribution to the City of Sarnia and Lambton County.”

Bradley acknowledges that the list is “a highly personal list, based on my own observations throughout the year in the community, nominations from citizens and media stories.”

He also calls the list “a tribute to the unsung people and groups in the community who make a difference in trying to create a good and just community and society. It is living proof that individual citizens and groups can make a difference.”

Bradley will hold a reception on Feb. 2 to formally recognize the recipients:

Clarke Atkinson

In 1996, Mr. Atkinson, at age 80, received the Meritorious Service Medal, the highest honour presented by Branch 62 of the Royal Canadian Legion, for his more than 30 years of community service. His work included involvement on numerous committees, most notably as Treasurer of the annual poppy fund and as auditor for the local army cadets corps; Ladies Auxiliary at Sarnia and Petrolia Legions, and WANNA Branch 515. He also served as a Board Member at Devine Street United Church and performing other volunteer work, donating his financial expertise as a retired chartered accountant. Mr. Atkinson continued his volunteer work with the Legion Poppy Fund and the army cadets until 2011 when, at age 95, he retired from volunteer work.

John Barker

In 2011 Mr. Barker received one of the highest honours that can be given to a volunteer in Scouting—the Silver Acorn—in recognition of his leadership for 25 years with the 23rd Sarnia Scout Troop. Under Mr. Barker’s direction the troop has participated in Jamborees in various provinces and is involved in community services with the Salvation Army, Inn of the Good Shepherd and Community Girls’ Home. Approximately 100 of the Scouts in this troop have earned their Chief Scout Award, the highest award in Scouting, during his 25 years with 23rd Sarnia Scout Troop. Recipients of the Silver Acorn are selected by a review panel from Scouts Canada’s national office in Ottawa. Nominees must show distinguished service to Scouting within their own group, as well as area, council and national levels. Mr. Barker has been described as someone who is “a foundation of knowledge, always willing to help, always has great suggestions, always has a positive attitude.”

Peter and Colleen Buckley

Peter and Colleen, owner/operators of the local McDonald’s restaurants, have made an enormous contribution to the lives of so many people in Sarnia, especially those who face physical or intellectual challenges. For 10 years they have been committed to all of the goals of Community Living Ontario which includes providing every person the opportunity to feel valued, respected and to live in a state of dignity while working at real jobs for real pay. Colleen offers her personal time and attention in providing people with physical or intellectual challenges training in order to search for and obtain employment. In 2011 the Buckleys created the Ronald McDonald House Community Suite at the RBC Centre to provide local charities with opportunities to use it to raise funds for their own organizations while donating half of any proceeds to RMHCC of Southwestern Ontario. They are or have been very much involved in fundraising campaigns for the Inn of the Good Shepherd; new hospital; annual Santa Claus Parade; sponsors of countless sports teams, tournaments and organizations all over Sarnia-Lambton. Colleen and Peter served as Board Members at Family Counselling Centre and were actively involved through sponsorship and participation in five annual fundraising galas. “Colleen and Peter are deserving of this award for they truly exemplify its purpose to honour those who have improved the quality of life or made significant contribution to our community.”

Stacy Cattran and Leah Nielsen

Three years ago Stacy and Leah watched their father die an agonizing death, suffering from mesothelioma, due to asbestos exposure decades earlier. They organized a walk—“A Walk To Remember Victims of Asbestos”—in Centennial Park this past October to lobby government and demand an end to Canadian asbestos production and exportation. Over 500 participated in the walk on a cold and rainy day and the event galvanized local, national, and international activists to a much higher level of engagement to end this hideous export of death to countries around the world.

Central Forum

In 2011 the Central Forum celebrated its 30th Anniversary, serving the community with guest speakers on a variety of subjects, drawing record attendance from seniors in the City and County.

Paul Gagne

Mr. Gagne has volunteered his time as a member of the Bayfest Board of Directors and volunteers his time months in advance of Bayfest to help plan the event. He has also been a long time board member and volunteer for Harmony for Youth, organizing annual fundraisers while assisting in the development of youth programmes. Paul is unwavering when it comes to a challenge and will put in the time and dedication needed for each project/organization. He also serves as a Scout Leader and has previously been involved with the Canadian Cancer Society, Sarnia Block Parents, St. Helen’s School Parent Council and Cystic Fibrosis Canada. “He is continually thinking of others before himself.”

Dr Tony Hanlon

Retired Lambton College President is being recognized for his outstanding leadership outside of his success as President of Lambton College over the last decade. Tony believes in community engagement and has been very heavily involved in serving on the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce Board; Sarnia Lambton Economic Partnership; the University of Western Ontario Research Park Board and also providing leadership on social issues that are of great concern to the community, including youth mental health issues.

Caroline Hummell

Caroline, a grade 10 student at St. Christopher’s School, was a member of Team Ontario Provincial U15 girls’ basketball team. Caroline was honoured to have helped her team bring home the gold medal from the National in Winnipeg this past summer. She also won a silver medal at the OFSSA for shot put. Caroline gives back to her community with her talents volunteering at numerous basketball camps for the youth throughout the year. She has also worked with local law enforcement in Sarnia, raising money for the Special Olympics Torch Run by collecting “tolls” at various businesses. Even with her busy schedule she is a focussed student, maintaining a 93% school average.

Tara Jeffrey

Tara, a reporter with The Sarnia Observer, received national recognition this past year at the National Newspaper Awards in Ottawa as runner-up in the Local Reporting Category with her series of stories on youth mental illness and suicide. Her stories were found to be “well researched, documented and complemented through new media.” The judges commented that Tara’s intuition and initiative uncovered a great tragedy and brought about important changes in attitudes and practices. Each year in Canada many young promising lives are lost due to youth mental illness and Tara’s stories shone the spotlight on the dark side of the issues and educated people about suicide prevention and helped develop a community-based response to one of the leading causes of death for young people in Canada.

Grant Jones

Mr. Jones, who celebrated his 80th birthday in 2011, is a daily avid and grateful volunteer at Bluewater Health and has been for many years. He is referred to “as an Ambassador” to the community and other volunteers.

Jordyn Knowles

Jordyn is a very compassionate 11 year old who became involved in fundraising for the St. Joseph’s Hospice while attending the Illness Support Programme—a programme for children who know someone who has terminal cancer—in this case Jordyn’s late mother, 38 year old Carolynn Anne Knowles. On Jordyn’s third visit to the Hospice she asked about the bracelets and scarves for sale and was told it was fundraising to raise money to keep the Hospice operating. Immediately she set up a spread sheet on her home computer and set out in the neighbourhood to raise money—receiving $60.00. She then decided to make bracelets and key chains. While continuing to visit the Hospice and her Mom each week, the amount of money she raised increased. Her Dad said he would match any amount she raised. When she got to $2,000 she commented “He thought I’d only raise 100 bucks.” Jordyn now attends the Bereavement Group and the Grief Camp through the Hospice and continues to raise money. This past October Jordyn, her Dad and her sisters presented a cheque for $8,000 to the Hospice. Even though 2011 will be a sad year in her life, Jordyn’s accomplishment is extraordinary. “This is what kind of young people we have in our community.”

George Ludgate

George was the founder of the Sarnia Historical Society which came about from his efforts to preserve the home in which a former Prime Minister of Canada resided. He also served his community as President of the Sarnia Softball Association, President of the Sarnia Imperial/Golden Bear Quarterback Club; Member of the Junior Chamber of Commerce; initiated the sports “Time Out” radio show.

Hope Morritt

Ms. Morritt, at age 91, recently published her sixth book “When I Put Out To Sea” a collection of 14 short stories she has written throughout her lifetime, 63 years after her first book “Sarah” was published in 1948. For 72 years the award-winning local storyteller has also worked as a reporter at various newspapers, including The Edmonton Journal, The London Free Press and The Sarnia Observer. Ms. Morritt is a regular participant at the “Spoken Word”—a monthly information-speaking event which features storytelling, humour and poetry reading by professionals and amateur writers. She also co-founded an authors’ group locally years ago and it developed into the current Writers in Transition which hosts The Spoken Word.

Gloria Peniasko

Gloria is part of the “River City Team” who comes to The Inn of the Good Shepherd every Monday to prepare and serve a meal at the Inn. In addition to her volunteer work at the Inn, she also travels to the River City Community Centre where twice a week she spends up to 5 hours a day preparing and serving meals to those needing assistance. She has never been known to want or ask for anything in return. Gloria feels a very deep love and need to perform the things that she does.

Dave Persad

n addition to Mr. Persad’s work as Pastor of Sarnia Evangelical Missionary Church, he leads a team of volunteers to El Salvador each year to build houses and minister to the people. Through his efforts a local eye doctor donates glasses for an eye glass clinic for the people of El Salvador and a local business provided sewing machines at a great discount so the women in El Salvador could be trained to make their own quilts out of scrap material. Through Mr. Persad’s assistance and goals he works with the Autism Parents Support Group, their March Break and Summer Camps; is involved with Circles Poverty Workshop; Neighbourlink; Sarnia Friendship Group. Deve has been described as a man of outstanding integrity and character who inspires others to take up the challenge.

Mario and Dolores Quintanilla

Mario and Dolores lead a group called “Support of Lambton for Latin America”. This year through the Quintanilla’s efforts they have been able to gather enough used but still useful medical equipment from Bluewater Health’s Mitton Street building to be shipped to hospitals in El Salvador. This is the 4th shipping container sent to El Salvador. Mario, from El Salvador and Dolores from Mexico, arrived in Canada 20 years ago were blessed to live in this country but surprised by the amount of equipment being thrown away. In addition to sending medical equipment, wheelchairs and furniture to hospitals in El Salvador, with the help of information technology students at Lambton College, used computers were fixed and shipped to El Salvador for use in kindergarten. The College, where Dolores is a teacher, also donated out dated computers and they are now being used in an after-school programme in Mexico. Sarnia Rotarians, college students and volunteers from St. Thomas D’Aquin Church have helped pack donations for shipment to Latin America. The Quintanillas are always taking donations for their programme.

St. Patrick’s High School and St. Christopher Secondary School Share Lent Challenge 2011

Lou Giancarlo – Teacher

Richard Whitney, Chaplain

Timothy Charette – Former Chaplain

The Development and Peace Share Lent Challenge was held once again between St. Patrick’s High School and St. Christopher Secondary School with a total of $7,300 collected. With St. Pat’s raising the most money, they were treated to pizza by St. Christopher. Since 2002 the schools have raised over $134,000. The Challenge has been won 5 times by St. Pat’s and 4 times by St. Christopher’s. Money raised is distributed to various charities throughout Canada and the world.

Herb and Mary Schwartz

Mr. and Mrs. Schwarz have worked tirelessly over many years to help make Sarnia a better community. For a number of years Mary served on the Sarnia General Hospital Board and then Bluewater Health Board from 1990 to 2003. She was the first woman to become a member of the Board and eventually became Chairperson, leading the Board through the process and then amalgamation between Sarnia General, St. Joseph’s Hospital and CEE Petrolia. As well Mary has been an active member of the IODE, participating and organizing a number of fundraising events. She also served as Chair of the Communicable Diseases Subcommittee of the Ontario Public Health Association and organized one of the largest conferences in Ontario on AIDS prevention and education. Following Herb’s retirement he served on numerous civic committees including The Waste Reduction Committee (1991-1997); the Sarnia Transit Advisory Committee (1996-1997) as well as assisting with the Lambton Drug Awareness Action Committee; United Way; Lambton Seniors’ Association; Sarnia Golden “K; and more recently has been involved with the Rapids Family Clinic and participating on committees to establish other community health initiatives.

Alexandra Zuninga

Alexandra, an 18 year old former student at Northern Collegiate, was recently award the “Lincoln Alexander Award” by the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, The Honourable David Onley, for her work against racial discrimination. The Provincial award is presented to two full-time high school students and one community mentor. Along with the award there is a $5,000 prize. During her four years at Northern she was Co-President of the Multi-cultural Awareness Committee (MAC) and helped plan events including cultural awareness presentation, ethnic food festivals and MAC Night where cultural celebrations are open to the entire community. Alexandra, now studying at University of Toronto at Mississauga, plans to continue raising awareness about racial issues with the idea of starting a multicultural club at the University. Alexandra hopes to educate people about the impact their actions have on others.

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