Prince Edward County residents were honoured Wednesday for their volunteer efforts, visions and community spirit.
The Wellings of Picton adult lifestyle community hosted its first volunteer awards ceremony honouring 17 nominees and presenting winners of three categories with $500 to be given to a charity of choice.
“Volunteers are the roots of strong communities and nowhere is this more apparent than in Prince Edward County,” said emcee Rachel Henry, of Wellings, co-chair with Natalie Tommy. “We celebrate our 17 exceptional nominees and call attention to volunteers in our communities. We’re fortunate in Prince Edward County to have such a diverse group of interests and representation – from arts and culture, preservation of our County’s natural beauty and wildlife, youth programs, humanitaian interests that have expanded on the national level, all aspects of senior health, and senior living and the list goes on.”
Wellings is the company behind the building of apartment-style suites for seniors, just outside Picton, near the McFarland Home complex.
Carlyn Moulton was presented the Wellings County Caring Award for her work to re-settle Syrian refugee families to the area and her unique concept of having dedicated “pods” of volunteers is now a rural model used across the county.
Moulton, founder of PEC Syria, expected a dozen friends to show up when she called a meeting in August in Bloomfield to discuss sponsoring refugees. More than 150 volunteers shared her vision. The first family arrived in October, two more in February. More are expected later this year.
PEC’s Syria campaign is now referred to as “The Picton Case Study” with Immigration Canada.
“There are a lot of things that changed in their whole process because of what we did here getting the very first family through Lifeline Syria,” said Moulton. “For instance, the question of ‘what’s your mother’s maiden name’ is no longer asked, as Syrians do not change their name when they get married. So it’s a question that makes no sense. And there are all kinds of things like that, that changed afterwards.
Nominees honoured with Moulton included Pamela Stagg, Mark Despault, Rick Rehm, Richard and Eunice Hill, Mary Camp, Rebecca MacKellar and Barb Proctor.
Fran Renoy, of Picton, was presented the Wellings Lifelong Achievement Award.
“Fran has demonstrated her sense of citizenship, sense of justice and sense of humanity by advocating for many of our community organizations,” said Henry. “Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital is of particular interest and she is a strong advocate. Her volunteer contributions extend to many other organizations, including the hospital’s auxiliary, the Salvation Army, the Loyalist Humane Society, Regent Theatre, Hospice Prince Edward, Cancer Society, Community Care for Seniors, Alzheimer’s Society and St. Gregory’s Catholic Church.
“I think there was a need for this Volunteer Award ceremony,” said Renoy. “Many organizations have talked about it. There are a lot of wonderful volunteers who should be honoured. We have something like 290 volunteers at the hospital auxiliary putting in 25,000 hours and there’s all kinds of groups who do this kind of thing.”
Nominees honoured with Renoy include Bruce Dowdell, Birgit Langwisch, Leo and Maureen Finnegan.
John Mather was presented the Wellings Community Builder Award for his contributions toward the new County FM radio station, including formation of the news department volunteers. He also hosts a Sunday show and fills in with other departments. He also volunteers witht he Picton Food Bank, the PE Arts Council and hospital auxiliary.
“We couldn’t have done what we have done, and are still doing with County FM, without dedicated, star volunteers,” Mather said. “We are so very fortunate to have over 300 members who belong to this community radio station.”
Nominees honoured with Mather include Carlyn Moulton, Elizabeth Crombie, Joan Pennefather and Glen Wallis.
Brenda Snider, of Volunteer Information Quinte, spoke of the importance of volunteers in communities and challenged those present to talk more about what they do, which in turn will build volunteerism and support.
“Without volunteers we would not have the level of living that we are used to,” said Snider. “We cannot exist without you.”
Filed Under: Featured Articles
About the Author: