Eganville – When Candace Woolley was asked to join her friend and fellow Bonnechere Union Public Library Board member Judy Sauve at Bonnechere Valley council she thought it was to discuss volunteer protocols, but in fact it was all a ruse to present her an award as the Ontario Senior of the Year for the township.
“I’m really dumbstruck,” she admitted following the presentation. “What a surprise.”
Mayor Jennifer Murphy presented the award, describing her contributions as a volunteer and involvement with the Bonnechere Union Public Library, Bonnechere Author’s Festival, Stone Fence Theatre and Hospice Renfrew, to name a few organizations.
“Candace Woolley is a very community-minded person,” she noted.
“Candace will go the extra mile and is a joy to be around,” she said. “Always praising people for their actions. She is the most selfless person giving her time to others.”
She was nominated for the award by Ms. Sauve and BV Community Development Manager Dana Jennings.
“Her passion for the community is unstoppable and she is so deserving of this honour,” the mayor read.
Ms. Sauve pointed out this was a total surprise to Ms. Woolley and they had been able to keep the secret. During the ZOOM meeting Ms. Woolley’s two daughters and her grandchildren were able to watch and join in as well.
“You are the volunteer who always steps up,” the mayor said.
Ms. Woolley said it was all part of a team effort.
“All of us work together to make this a better place,” she said. “It is not one person.”
In speaking with the Leader later, Ms. Woolley said she was honoured and thrilled to receive the award. She said being a volunteer has been a natural progression for her since coming to the community.
“I love living here and doing anything to contribute to the community,” she said. “I find it fun and rewarding.”
She encouraged others to become volunteers as well.
“Once you try it, you will be hooked,” she said. “I have met so many friends and wonderful people.”
Working together with like-minded people on a project is very fulfilling, she added.
“It is a privilege to be able to volunteer,” she noted, saying she is grateful she has had the free time to be able to do this.
Debbi Christinck, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eganville Leader