By Mike Anderson
After a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Town of Georgina presented its 2020-21 Volunteer Award of Merit to individuals, organizations and businesses who made a significant contribution to their community during a ceremony held at the ROC on Friday, May 27.
The well-attended ceremony featured Keswick resident Alan Stewart piping in the recipients, with introductory remarks from the Mayor and council before the awards were handed out.
“The Volunteer Award of Merit recognizes people who have contributed to the betterment of the local community and Georgina as a whole,” said Mayor Margaret Quirk.
“Volunteers have a tremendous effect on the strength of our community. Their passion and actions make a positive impact, and I want to thank the award recipients for all the good work they do every day.”
The Individual Award of Merit was presented to Dave Atkinson, Pat Brennan, Fred Foster, Ashley Hatt, Bobby Murdoch, Don Philip, Nelly Seidel, Mona Steitieh, Merla Sulit and Terry Windsor.
Alyssa Charlton and Keesha Rajkumar received the Youth Award of Merit.
The Organization Award of Merit was presented to the Good Food Collective, Georgina Military Museum, Georgina Pride, Georgina Pop Up Breakfast Club, Shades of Hope Wildlife Refuge and SOS Georgina.
Steve Jacobson, a co-founder of SOS Georgina, which produced and distributed hundreds of hand-sewn face masks to front-line workers during the pandemic, says he didn’t do it for the recognition.
“It’s certainly nice to be recognized for what you do, but volunteering is a very satisfying thing to do,” he said.
“You don’t do it for recognition. You do it because you have a love for it.”
“I am completely honoured. But I don’t do it for the awards,” added Leah Sheridan, co-founder of Georgina Pride.
“I do this to build a community where people are accepted for exactly who they are, and they’re not afraid to come out and just be themselves.”
Four local businesses received the Business Award of Merit: Belvedere Cookhouse, Canadian Tire Keswick, Corner House Bistro and McDonald’s Keswick.
The Town of Georgina also recognized Lorriane Hackenbrook as its 2020-21 Citizen of the Year.
Hackenbrook, married to former Ward 4 Councillor Ken Hackenbrook, has been involved in many volunteer organizations, including Hospice Georgina, Club 55 Sutton, Georgina Terry Fox Run, and local school breakfast clubs.
“Well, I’ve known Ken and Lorraine for years, and Lorraine is somebody who has selflessly donated of her time,” Mayor Quirk said.
“From the time they moved up here until today, she’s still volunteering. And that’s why we’ve recognized her with Citizen of the Year.”
“Volunteers don’t do it for the recognition. But it’s important to acknowledge their efforts. The number of hours they put in, the talents they bring, and the dedication they have to their community. It’s what makes Georgina special. “
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