By: Ewa Chwojko-Srawley
“You have two hands, one to help yourself, the second to help others,” remarked Regional Councillor Rob Grossi, presenting a Volunteer Award of Merit to the Hemmati family, owners of Quick Pizza in Keswick.
This family of immigrants, who opened their business in Georgina in 1996, immediately started giving back to the community. They not only support Georgina’s sports teams and fundraising ventures, but also sponsor a hot lunch program for several local schools. Hamid’s personal thank you to his new country is giving away slices of pizza for free on Canada Day.
Two other popular and much-loved local businesses, Black River Coffee and the Gem Theatre, were also recognized for their huge support of local charities.
Elaine Coates, the owner of Black River Coffee, has her door and her heart open to all in need. Every month she hosts residents of nearby River Glen Haven Nursing Home, offering specially baked treats, lots of smiles and warm chats. She is also wholeheartedly involved with Christmas food and clothing drives, bakes cakes for fundraisers, and even drives those in need to doctors’ appointments.
R. J. Gorman, who personally introduced every movie at his Gem Theatre for over twenty years, provided fun and entertainment. And more: since its establishment, the Gem has donated over 30 000 lbs of food for the Georgina Food Pantry.
There are many ways of giving. Some donate goods and funds, and some give their time, skills and heart. This year six outstanding Georgina citizens and seven exceptional organizations were recognized for helping others. Renate Freels, Lauralee Reily, Ginger Smith, Mary Margaret Thorburn, and teenager Andrew O’Dell were each introduced by the Mayor of Georgina or one of the councillors.
The big crowd gathered at the ROC, on November 26, learned about their dedication, and the long hours of hard work spent helping those in need. Mary Margaret Thorburn voiced a sentiment felt by all: thegreat pleasure that it is to volunteer in Georgina, a warm, welcoming community that is like family.
Loud cheers from the audience greeted representatives of Egypt Hall Board, Georgina Cares, Georgina Studio Tours, Sutton Legion Ladies Auxiliary, Pefferlaw Arts & Crafts Club, and the Kinette Club of Sutton, as the town representatives thanked them.
A highlight of the evening was the presentation of the Citizen of the Year award to Gail Moore, who has been volunteering all her life: she told us that it was a tradition in her family, a part of her upbringing.
The Mayor of Georgina, Margaret Quirk, in her closing remarks stated that because of the volunteers’ selfless giving, Georgina is a better community.
Scot Davidson MP congratulated each recipient and thanked them for their generosity and their dedication.
A comment, often repeated, was that these wonderful volunteers humbly avoid recognition, and never tell what they are doing.
But the overwhelming sentiment from the gathered supporters was that the spotlight should be turned on those who give so much. This beautiful ceremony was a great occasion to put them in that deserved spotlight.