Honoured volunteers have contributed more than 150 years of collective service to community

·4 min read

Volunteers are the lifeblood of any community, but those who regularly give of their time often go unheralded.

Earlier this year, the Aurora’s Community Recognition Awards trumpeted their achievements loud and clear, honouring residents who have given 20, 25, 30, and even 40 years of continuous service to the community.

“[These recipients] represent a combined total of more than 15 decades of volunteer service, which is outstanding,” said Mayor Tom Mrakas.

“Volunteers, through their dedication, creativity, kind heart and passion have created a model for others to follow,” he continued. “Our volunteers ensure that we can take care of each other and still be able to look forward with hope that Aurora, with its small-town charm will continue to be strong and innovative as we work together building our beautiful future.

“We know that volunteers being recognized tonight don’t volunteer to be recognized as they give their time generously without any expectation of reward. There are so many decisions to make on a daily basis and one of them is how to spend our precious commodity of time. Our community thrives because volunteers choose to share their skills, their abilities, and their time.”

20 YEARS

Carol Bartlett (Optimist Club of Aurora)

“Carol has served as president and treasurer of the club and is currently a member of the board of directors and is an active member of several communities,” reads Ms. Bartlett’s citation. “She has actively participated in the Aurora Home Show Pub and Grill, the Club’s mobile kitchen at various community events around the Town, and Minor Hockey Optimist Showcase Tournament. She is a valued member of the club and has served the youth of our community in many ways during her two decades [with the Club].

Doug Bond (Storm Volleyball)

“Doug has been instrumental to the growth and development of the organization by taking an active role in building their Storm League and as a mentor coach to introduce new parent coaches to the sport. Over the years, Doug has coached more than 30 competitive teams. His contributions have developed more than 1,000 athletes in our community who have earned over 100 medals in competitive tournaments all across Ontario. Doug helps coordinate competitive team tournaments while hosting several himself on behalf of Storm Volleyball. He also manages the organizations’ equipment to ensure each coach, team and program have what they need to be successful.”

Alex Van Hemert (York Regional Police Community Chorus)

“Alex and the YRP Community Chorus help connect the YRP to our community by performing for churches and retirement residences. These performances bring entertainment and joy to so many in our community. The group also performs at Fundraising concerts in Aurora, giving back through donations to worthy causes and those that need it most.”

25 YEARS

Katie Williams (Central York Girls Hockey Association)

Katie has held a variety of positions within the organization and currently serves as the VP of Senior Women’s Hockey. Katie has been the driving force behind the Summer Women’s Hockey Program, a three-on-three program during the winter months, and has spearheaded the annual Panther Pride House League tournament which is currently in its 14th season. Katie is also a strong advocate for local girls and women in sport. She has sat on the Board of Sport Aurora and is currently serving on the Town of Aurora’s Sport Equity and Inclusion Committee. The Centra York Girls Hockey Association is grateful for Katie Williams’ continued dedication to the organization, as well as to girls and women in the sport.”

30 YEARS

Lowell McClenny (York Regional Police Community Chorus)

“Lowell has been a volunteer lead since its inception in 1991. Since Lowell retired from the Police Force, he has become an invaluable member of the community, whether through music or sport. Lowell has continued to share his wisdom and drive for excellence with so many of our residents. Congratulations to Lowell for his 30 years of dedicated volunteer service.”

Don Stubbs (Optimist Club of Aurora)

“Don has served as a member of several committees and is an active member of the Board of Directors. He has participated actively in the Aurora Home Show Pub and Grill and the Club’s mobile kitchen at various community events around the Town. Don has been the driving force behind the annual Chess Tournament for over 20 years, creating countless opportunities for the youth in our community.”

40 YEARS

Sheena Griffith (Pine Tree Potters Guild – Founding Member)

“Sheena has held a variety of positions and has served on the Board of Directors for many years. Currently, she is an officer on the Executive Committee, serving as a past president. Along with her administrative duties, Sheena is a very talented potter in her own right and contributes to every aspect of the Guild. Over the years, she has been involved in community events, fundraisers, sales, exhibitions and even teaches pottery classes. Sheena is a talented, generous, kind and giving person who will always take the time to give advice and to share her expertise to help a new potter.”

Brock Weir, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Auroran

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