17th Annual Community Spirit Awards celebrates outstanding volunteers

17th Annual Community Spirit Awards
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Oakville’s best and brightest volunteers were celebrated for their exemplary contributions to the community at the 17th Annual Community Spirit Awards held last night at Queen Elizabeth Park Community and Cultural Centre.

17th Annual Community Spirit Awards recipients:

Terry Bayley, Access Award sponsored by Access Abilities
Terry Bayley, Nominated by Stephen Cull, CharterAbility As the Executive Director of CharterAbility, Terry helps provide accessible and recreational boating for persons with disabilities at no cost. Since taking on this role, CharterAbility doubled its boat rides during the 2017 season. With a past career in the financial services industry, Terry has successfully created a multi-year strategic plan designed to make sure the financial stability of CharterAbility. Terry pours his heart into participating and facilitating volunteer events, marketing and community outreach, and various fundraising activities. CharterAbility continues to expand and positively impact the Oakville Community due to Terry’s passion and hard work. A modest man, Terry inspires his fellow peers by working on a at no cost basis because he believes in the company and the life-changing experience it provides for those less fortunate.

Rena Sava, Arts Award sponsored by the Oakville Beaver
Nominated five times for the Arts award, Rena Sava has clearly made a powerful impact on her peers and the Town of Oakville. A resident for 21 years, Rena is an expert in the arts community, running Artworks Oakville – a non-profit organization which provides venues for emerging and local artists to show their work. Artworks Oakville has gained critical acclaim for its work in the arts community generating interest from artists throughout Ontario and beyond. Rena’s role on the Oakville Arts Council creates life-changing opportunities for artists, and for those who visit her galleries and attend her shows. The local community sees Rena as a driving force in Oakville art circles. Showing remarkable leadership, passion and love for the arts, Rena is a highly regarded artist and is deserving of the Community Spirit Award in the Arts.

Siemens Canada Limited, Group Volunteer Award sponsored by the Town of Oakville
Siemens Canada Limited is making Oakville greener, one tree at a time. On Earth Day, Siemens celebrates by allowing employees to take paid time off to volunteer in local green initiatives. In 2012, Siemens opened its new head office in Oakville, and established a successful partnership with Tree Canada to offer tree planting events for Siemens employees Canada-wide. Siemens employees have planted 10,000 trees across Canada and over 2,500 trees in Oakville. Not only is Siemens providing the community with more greenery, but also their events bring people together to create collaboration with employees and community members. The President of Tree Canada, Michael Rosen shared that “Siemens is certainly living up to its reputation as one of Canada’s greenest employers and we are very proud to be associated with them.” Siemens partners with Conservation Halton to make Oakville a greener and healthier community. The employees volunteering for this great cause makes Siemens deserving of the Group Volunteer Award.

Susan Wells, Heritage Award sponsored by Genworth Financial Canada
“Discover, Preserve, Promote and Share Oakville’s Historical Heritage”, is the Oakville Historical Society’s mandate. With Susan Wells’ generosity of spirit and confidence, she inspires the Oakville Historical Society to reach this mandate. With an obvious love for her community, Susan is a natural storyteller using her talents to photograph events, as well as creating and writing full newsletters. Known to her peers as quiet and kind, Susan not only always completes her work on time but is always willing to help a friend in need by volunteering in other aspects of the Oakville Historical Society. Susan’s expert historical knowledge of the Town of Oakville is impressive but her fun and quirky stories are what really entertain and educate all residents. Quietly working behind the scenes, Susan’s hard work is clear in her successful endeavors. She creates a positive ripple effect throughout the entire community making her deserving of the Heritage Award.

Kristin Courtney, Individual Volunteer Award sponsored by Paradiso Restaurant
Kristin is known for her willingness and desire to help others in her community, particularly seniors and people with disabilities. She spends hours volunteering with CharterAbilities, an organization that provides boating opportunities for people with accessibility needs, and The Willow Foundation which raises funds to give mental and physical stimulation to seniors in Halton. She is instrumental in organizing an annual Veterans Appreciation Luncheon that draws about 800 veterans and their families. Thanks to Kristin, this event has grown over the years to include representatives from all levels of government and members of the Canadian Armed Forces, Navy and Air Force. Whether she serves on a board or actively holds an event, Kristin’s work brings joy to hundreds of people.

Fitzie James, Senior Award sponsored by Chartwell Waterford Retirement Residence
As a passionate, but humble “career volunteer”, Fitzie is known by many in the community for her dedication to helping others. She began her volunteer work with Oakville Meals on Wheels in 1981, delivering meals twice a week, and she’s still going strong, delivering about 31,104 meals and impacting hundreds of lives. Fitzie has also volunteered for Halton Healthcare for 37 years and shows no signs of slowing down. To date Fitzie has donated 16,430 hours of her personal time to help patients, staff and visitors at the Oakville Hospital. She has provided tremendous support transporting patients in wheelchairs and stretchers from their rooms to various hospital departments and helping pharmacy staff prepare packages of medications. Fitzie embodies the true spirit of volunteerism: making a difference in the life of others, by giving selflessly.

Lana Hekmat, Youth Award sponsored by RBC Royal Bank
Lana has volunteered with the TD Summer Reading Program, Friends of the Library Program, and with the Halton Multicultural Council Multiculturalism Day. Lana is a full-time student who goes above and beyond with her extracurricular activities at school such as student council, athletic council, rugby, prefect club, etc. She also volunteers with Relay for Life, Inside Ride and assists with planning school
events. Impressively and constantly showing support for her community, friends and family, Lana’s extraordinary drive continues to amaze and inspire all those working with her. Known for her compassion and ability to give love and value to every project she works on makes Lana deserving of the Youth Award.

“Thank you to our community volunteers and every unsung hero for elevating the entire Oakville community with your spirit and inspiring dedication and commitment,” said Mayor Rob Burton. “I’m pleased our town was able to recognize some of these outstanding people and groups with a Community Spirit Award.”

Chris Mei, television host of the Weather Network, was the emcee for the 17th Annual Community Spirit Awards, entertaining the audience while sponsors handed out the awards. Each recipient received a one-of-a-kind award created by artist Katie Fortier.

16th Community Spirit Awards honour Outstanding Volunteers

Since 2002, Oakville’s Community Spirit Awards have recognized people and groups for their outstanding contributions to the community.

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