Sarnia Mayor issues 2014 Honour List

Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley has released the 2014 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.”

A formal reception recognizing the recipients will be held early in 2015. Following is Mayor Bradley’s list, along with his verbatim description of each individual or group being honoured:

MIKE BLONDIN

Mr. Blondin, over the past four years, has organized a golf tournament, raising over $35,000 for the benefit of the Huron House Boys’ Home.  Instead of turning the cash proceeds over to Huron House, he went one step further and put a plan in place.  After each event and after meeting with Huron House Staff he would take the money raised and purchase sports equipment for the boys and needed small appliances and furniture.  Mike shares his joy and enthusiasm and goodwill.

BLUEWATER HEALTH HOSPITAL AUXILIARY

After nearly 70 years of being an important part of Sarnia’s hospital, the Bluewater Health Auxiliary ceased operation.  Over the years Auxiliary events were held to raise funds with some 30 to 40 women regularly volunteering.  The Auxiliary had one of the most successful gift shops in Ontario.  Ellen Murphy and Helen Ballard, two of the volunteers, accumulated over 50,000 volunteer hours with the Auxiliary.  Their yearly patron drive was the lead up to what is now the Bluewater Foundation’s fundraising campaign.  It is estimated over the nearly 70 years that $2 million was raised.  The contributions helped with the construction of the hospital’s first palliative care suite, a patient van, money for dialysis units and $250,000 for construction of the Norman Street building.  With the current members numbering eight, down from 30 to 40 from years ago and with stricter regulations on how the money can be used, it was decided to disband the Auxiliary.

SUSAN CHAMBERLAIN

Susan is a true advocate for literacy and supports local charities and agencies.  She has been a champion for Canadian literature, bringing many high profile writers to the community over the years to meet the public.  Susan supports many charity fundraisers in the community and is a constant advocate for literacy in the community.

BRYAN CHAPPELL

Bryan has spent countless hours working in organizing the Lanxess International Women’s Silver Stick Hockey Tournament in Sarnia.  The year 2015 will mark the 17th year for the tournament. He has been a dedicated volunteer in making this sporting event such a huge international success. Bryan has also served as Chairperson of the Ontario Women’s Hockey Association.

PAM CHIN

Pam has worked tirelessly over the years to help make Sarnia a better place.  She has served on the Planning Committee for the Weir-Ciccarelli Charity Golf Classic which funded Dreams for Kids for four years and is involved with the Dancing with the Stars. Pam is also an animal advocate and in 2013 began a group to help end puppy mills in Canada. The success of this organization (over 15,000 members) has led her to be part of the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies.  Pam is dedicated and committed to educate and advocate for any social cause.

KENWICK ON THE LAKE PARK PROJECT COMMITTEE —KEN MACHAN, KEN STOTHERS, C0-CHAIRS

This dedicated group of volunteers revitalized and renewed this historic landmark park for Sarnians.  In partnership with the City of Sarnia they revitalized the children’s playground equipment, and built a small band shell that will be the main feature for summer concerts.  Many other renovations and improvements were also made.  The final improvements, including new washrooms and re-done tennis courts, are planned for 2015.  This grass roots citizen’s group has shown true empowerment in bringing back memories of the legendary Kenwick-on-the-Lake which brought international stars from around the world to the community and has many fond memories for Sarnians.

CARMAN LAMB

Carman Lamb, a world-renowned Santa Claus, volunteers his time annually in Sarnia to bring joy and the spirit of Christmas to many people and organizations throughout the community.  Carman competed in 1995 with 16 other competitors from around the world in a gruelling contest that included tree decorating, chimney-climbing and ho-ho-hoing.  Carman excelled with his arrangement of presents around the tree.  He is one of the best of the best Father Christmases in the world bringing joy to all.

LAMBTON COUNTY MUSIC FESTIVAL

The year 2014 marked The Lambton County Music Festival’s 85th year.  The festival is unique in that few organizations ever continue for this number of years and what is more remarkable is the festival has never had a sponsor, making it a one-of-a-kind event in Canada.  This year’s festival cost more than $26,000—money that is raised through donations and the interest on previous bequests.  Dozens of volunteers work many hours to make the event the success that it has been over the years.

MARY JO MATHER

Mary Jo is a tireless, selfless volunteer for her community.  Mary Jo volunteers at St. Joseph’s Hospice three to four times a week as a Direct Support Volunteer assisting the relatives of Hospice residents.  She loves children and takes a special interest in trying to bring cheer to the grandchildren of residents and tries to make them feel comfortable and relaxed.  She purchases items to be used towards the auction at the Dancing Under the Stars Gala, a major fundraising event for the Hospice.  In addition she volunteers for the Salvation Army Kettle Drive during the Christmas season while still maintaining her volunteer schedule at the Hospice.  She gives and expects nothing in return—she is like a “Christmas Elf” all year round.

EMMA MCCANN

In 2012 Emma raised over $7,000 for the local Youth Suicide Prevention Committee.  Touched by a number of young people who had taken their life she was part of the grassroots committee and is still involved to this day.  As a result of her involvement she now sits on the Children’s Mental Health Ontario Youth Action Committee.  She speaks for and represents the youth of Sarnia-Lambton on a provincial level.  Alongside other youth and parents, they are looking at the systematic transformation of mental health on a Provincial level.  Earlier this year the youth action committee released “Building a Better School Environment for Youth with Mental Health and Addiction Issues.”  Emma is a 17-year-old grade 12 student at St. Pat’s who volunteers many hours with organizations such as Kids Help Phone and Pathways, to name just a few, and does it quietly without any fanfare.  She is a young person representing Sarnia Lambton and trying to make a difference.

MOLLY MCKINLAY

Molly has seen the devastating effects of mental health issues having lost a loved-one to suicide.  Molly has worked with Shine the Light which helps raise awareness and generate discussion around mental health.  In addition to her work with this organization she excels in athletics, participating in track and field, tennis, hockey and badminton.  Molly is a former student at SCITS.

PATRICIA MCLEAN

For three decades Pat has volunteered her services on the Sarnia Heritage Committee and has a life-long interest in local heritage.  Her knowledge and expertise in Sarnia’s history is of great value to the community and she is a champion for remembering our past in order to celebrate our future.

FRED AND DOROTHY MOSS

Fred and Dorothy love to travel and have visited over 70 countries.  But what sets them apart from other people who like to travel is their desire to teach people from other countries about Canada and Sarnia.  Before Fred, a retired school teacher, sets out on another trip, he first visits the Mayor’s Office to collect Sarnia lapel pins to hand out to people, young and old, that he will meet.  When possible Fred and Dorothy arrange visits to schools in far off countries where Fred will “talk up” Sarnia and Canada to the young people.  Fred and Dorothy have put together a DVD showing people’s reactions from around the world to receiving the pins.  It makes you proud to be from Sarnia—proud to be Canadian.  Fred and Dorothy Moss take great joy in meeting people and telling everyone they can about Sarnia.

REBEKAH PEDE

Rebekah, a student at St. Clair Secondary School, has been nominated for the Ontario Junior Citizen of the Year Award and has received awards from Harmony for Youth.  She has given over 800 hours of her time to a variety of causes including being a tutor and a church youth group leader.  She balances her volunteering with sports and choir.

SARNIA CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION COMMITTEE

LIZ KENNY (CHAIRPERSON)

ALISON MAHON, STEVE LANE, ROB DAWSON, BILL HAZLITT, BECKY WELLINGTON-HORNER, MICHELLE SMITH, ALEX JONGSMA, PERRY JONGSMA, KEN MAATEN, PAT MAATEN, AMY BURKHART

The Centennial Committee organized hundreds of volunteers to celebrate Sarnia’s 100th Anniversary as a City in 2014.  Beginning with the massive public event in downtown Sarnia which attracted over 10,000 people on New Year’s Eve, through to May 7th (the actual anniversary date) to The Gathering at the RBC which brought in famous Sarnians to celebrate our history, through many other events throughout the year to engage the public in celebrating Sarnia’s past and its future, the Committee did an outstanding job.

LARRY SODEN

Dr. Soden, a Sarnia dentist, has become the first private practitioner in North America to purchase a mechanism from a manufacturer in Great Britain which allows a patient, confined to a wheelchair, to be positioned so  they are able to receive state-of-the-art dental care. Hundreds of individuals, young and old, whose physical maladies made it virtually impossible for them to be removed safely from their mobility devices and into a dentist chair and who before could not receive basic dental care, are now able to receive routine or specialized dental care that most people take for granted.  Dr. Soden is a leader in making his office building wheelchair accessible.  He is to be commended for his forward thinking, concern for the disadvantaged, his benevolence and for being the first private practice in not only Canada but in North America to provide this assistance.  He has quietly and passionately devoted his time and capital to this project and his actions reflect on our community as a whole.

DON VAN GOOZEN

Don has volunteered his service on numerous civic committees for over 44 years including Parking and Traffic, Planning Board, Planning Advisory and Committee of Adjustment in a number of capacities.  The year 2014 marks Don’s retirement from serving on civic committees. Don epitomizes the City’s motto of “People Serving People.”

DR. KEN WALKER AND MRS. DEB WALKER

For the past 20 years Dr. and Mrs. Walker have dedicated themselves to promoting and organizing the Bluewater Triathlon, elevating it to one of the top five Triathlons in Canada.  In addition they have raised in excess of $160,000 for St. John in the Wilderness Anglican Church for its Outreach Programmes. It is believed this is the only triathlon that is a fundraiser for a church.

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