Thunder Bay thrives because of the very special contributions and accomplishments of community champions. Citizens can be recognized monthly for outstanding achievement and annually for exceptional achievement.

Monthly Awards - Citizens of Outstanding Achievement

These awards are presented to individuals, teams or organizations for outstanding achievement and contribution to the City of Thunder Bay. Monthly award recipients have received provincial, national, or international recognition for their achievement. When providing a nomination it is the responsibility of the individual, team or organization to submit full documentation regarding the level of achievement.

Monthly Nomination Form

Annual Awards - Citizens of Exceptional Achievement

Good Citizen Award

This award is presented to an individual who has made outstanding volunteer contributions in Thunder Bay for a minimum of five years. Groups and organizations may receive this recognition for 10, 25 and 50 years of service and every 10 year increment thereafter.

Spirit of Thunder Bay Award

This special award recognizes an individual who has volunteered time toward improving and enriching the community of Thunder Bay. This is an individual who has shown extraordinary leadership, innovation and meaningful voluntary contributions, and has a minimum of 15 years of cumulative volunteer experience in Thunder Bay.

Youth Award

This award is presented to an individual, up to the age of 21 years, who, for a minimum of two years, has increased the profile of youth in Thunder Bay through volunteer contributions that enrich quality of life in the community. Volunteer service must be outside the mandated 40 hours.

Annual Nomination Form

Selection Committee

The Selection Committee is comprised of appointed community members representing the various award categories.
2023 Award Winners
Nomination forms coming soon! 
2021/2022 Award Winners 

2021/2022 Good Citizen  

Dell Babcock 

The Son of a Canadian Navy Veteran, Dell Babcock worked within Canada and the United States before retiring in Thunder Bay in 2013 and has dedicated over 30 years to volunteerism.

Since 2013 Dell, as a Royal Canadian Legion member, began volunteering at Branch number 5 and has dedicated the past 8 years to serving in several positions on the Executive Committee.  Dell has assisted in improving the Legion’s financial status, promoted events, increased community involvement, and assisted in the increase of new members. Dell was instrumental in securing the ‘New Horizons for Seniors Program and Enabling Accessibility’ grant which enabled much needed repairs to be undertaken leading to a more comfortable social environment for patrons to enjoy.

Dell has shown solid support on numerous occasions for military Veterans, encouraging cadet activities and programs that promote leadership and skill development and assisting with Remembrance Day activities within the branch and the wider community.

Due to his continued commitment Dell is very well regarded by his peers within the Legion and the community and countless individuals have benefitted in a variety of ways thanks to his tireless support. 

Edward Borowiec 

Since 1988 Edward Borowiec has been a dedicated member of Branch Number One of the Polish Combatants Association in Canada.  The PCA is an international association of Polish ex-servicemen and women, formed in Italy after World War Two when Poland fell under Communist control and today has chapters in 21 countries.

During his years at the PCA Edward has always been a trusted and reliable volunteer. His contribution to Pierogi and Cabbage Roll sales have been second to none.  This delicious, homemade product also goes to benefit the customers of the Dew Drop Inn, providing a nutritious, hearty meal for anyone that is hungry.

Edward's outgoing and friendly personality has always been enjoyed and appreciated by the other members of the PCA and his attention to detail is imperative in the packaging and delivery of food that has been lovingly created.

Edward is absolutely dedicated to contributing his time to the PCA, rarely missing a week, and handling any job that is asked of him with ease and a happy smile on his face. The other members that spend time with Edward describe him as a 'pleasure to work with' never missing an opportunity to go the extra mile when helping.

Edward is very deserving of the Good Citizen Award and the Polish Combatants Association feel fortunate to have him.

Pierina Bryan 

The Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre is home to Seasons Gift Shop which is owned and operated by a team of dedicated volunteers, enabling all profits to be used to purchase patient care equipment.  Pierina Bryan has been one of those dedicated volunteers for over 12 years.

Pierina has used her excellent customer service skills over the years to assist patrons in their selection of gifts.  Her patience and thoughtfulness are invaluable to workers and customers alike, with her using her skills and product knowledge to assist with inventory and sales work. Her eye for profitable and popular items has led to her to accompany her manager to Toronto for buying trips where she spends several days finding brands that would be a good fit for the gift shop.  Pierina is a great asset to other volunteers who look to her for inspiration and advice in styling the shop.

The longevity of service that Pierina has shown has had a tremendous impact on staff, patients, and the hospital community alike. Her reliability and determination to face whatever challenges and adventures come her way are invaluable, as demonstrated by her being one of the few volunteers who worked almost continuously through the Covid 19 Pandemic.

Pierina has also volunteered for her church and for the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra.

Pierina is kind, enthusiastic and fun to be around, always arriving for her shift with a smile on her face.

Thank you, Pierina, for being you and choosing Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre to donate your time to for all these years. 

Penny Cutler 

As an administrative assistant at the Children's Aid Society over 27 years ago, Penny Cutler started also giving her free time to the society transporting youth before her work shift began.  She became known as someone who could be counted on, and the youth found her relatable, caring, and genuine.

Upon her retirement, Penny formalized her volunteering efforts by taking over a food cupboard, ensuring youth living independently from their biological parents had access to much needed supplies, even throughout the pandemic.

Penny assisted in preparing individual youth packages to families in need, putting in extra time to ensure both necessities and niceties were not forgotten. Her addition of recipe cards into the delivery boxes when an enquiry about quinoa was made by the some of the youth served is just one example of her willingness to go the extra mile.

Penny's organizational skills were appreciated when the produce from the staff-led garden needed distributing.  She coordinated the efforts of the volunteer teams but also ensured that she assisted with the preparation of the isolation kits herself.

There is no doubt that Penny's commitment to her community starts and ends with her advocating for youth.  She knows they are the future, leads by example, puts her heart and time into making a difference and is constantly active in being the change she wants to see.

For that the Children's Aid Society and all who they are serve are very grateful. 

Stu Cutler 

For the past 15 years Stu Cutler has been transporting youth and families served by the Children’s Aid Society of Thunder Bay without fail.  Over those 15 years Stu has spent hundreds of hours driving children and youth to school, to medical, dental and therapy appointments, making sure that the children get to wherever they need to be safely and on time.

As well as transporting children, Stu has assisted with the delivery of five thousand pounds of products to children, youth, and families in need. These products have included delivering holiday hampers, hot turkey dinners, bi-weekly food boxes, fresh produce, and isolation kits.

Stu’s trustworthiness and high level of commitment resulted in him being asked to assist in delivering $3000 in separate $25 gift card denominations for perishable items that the children and youth required.  No type of bad weather ever delayed his progress and he visited homes after hours to ensure that the items were received.

When not volunteering for the Children’s Aid Society, Stu can often be found puttering on his daughter’s hydraulic lift system, helping out a neighbour in need, spending time with his grandchildren or running errands for his wife and co-volunteer.

Despite his busy lifestyle Stu can always be relied upon and has never wavered from his commitment to and concern for Thunder Bay’s littlest citizens.... our children.

Thank you, Stu, for the donation of all your valuable time, on behalf of the Children’s Aid Society of the District of Thunder Bay and all of the children that they serve. 

Francis Delorenzi

Since 1997 the Zorya Ukrainian Dance Association has been offering instruction in traditional Ukrainian dance to anyone who wishes to learn.  Francis Delorenzi was introduced to Ukrainian dancing when he was 6 years old and twenty years later Francis is still dancing and teaching what he learns to young dancers and his dancing peers.

Over the past 12 years Francis has been actively involved in the leadership of the Zorya Ukrainian dancers. He has played an active part in the Executive as their Fund-Raising Coordinator and Director, has taught several of the younger dance classes and has acted as both Assistant and Head Instructor for the Senior Ensemble.

Francis' roles have included Director, Dance Instructor and Choreographer whilst always making the time to dance himself.  He has studied under well-known choreographers in Canada and Ukraine and values this knowledge, willingly accepting any opportunity to pass on what he has learnt.

Francis has acted as an excellent Ambassador for Thunder Bay, performing at Ukrainian Festivals nationally and internationally whilst also enriching his home community by performing at local events, festivals, weddings, anniversaries, and long-term care homes.

Francis has always been willing to assist other instructors and help at the studio, firmly believing communication is key to any organization and trying hard to ensure that his role as Director and Teacher reflects this.

Francis has demonstrated dedication and commitment throughout his years as a part of Zorya Ukrainian Dance Association and has been an excellent role model for anyone that knows him.

Reggie Duncan

Many people with disabilities experience physical and attitudinal barriers in their daily activities.  These same barriers may result in skilled and enthusiastic people with disabilities making the decision not to volunteer.

Reggie Duncan has not been deterred by this however and he is well recognized as a community volunteer.  Reggie is a high functioning individual with intellectual disability needs who chooses to commit to making any organization he is volunteering for, benefit from his involvement.  Reggie is a fine example of why we need to remove barriers to participation in all aspects of society, especially in emotionally rewarding activities such as volunteering.

Reggie usually determines where he wants to volunteer and will persevere until he has been accepted in the position. He acts as great ambassador for any event, telling everyone he meets all about it and enlisting any willing volunteers to help.  The pride and honour Reggie feels when putting on his volunteer t-shirt is apparent in the effort, he puts into his role and how he takes on any extra tasks that are asked of him.

As an active volunteer with Community Living, working with their advocacy group, Reggie took the opportunity to sign up for the position of Chairperson and was elected to the position by the members.

Reggie goes to prove that people can and should be empowered to give to their community.  When everyone participates it's a win-win!

Peter Eaves

Originally from England, Peter immigrated to Canada on the well known, decommissioned, ice breaker 'The Alexander Henry.'  He settled in Thunder Bay in 1975 and since then has dedicated over 36 years of his life to volunteering.

During the 1980s Peter spent many years as the Neighbourhood Watch Co-ordinator for the north side of Boulevard Lake and served as a committee member for the recreation centre, later assisting in the planning and building of the new centre, fundraising, and even acting as event bartender and organizing ticket sales.

Peter co-ordinated and scheduled the Current River Mighty Mites hockey team, helping to manage the teams and their hectic practice and game schedules.

Royal Canadian Legion Branch number 5 has seen Peter make repairs, plaster and paint when needed, assist the executive member in charge of visiting sick Veterans and patrons and spend many Fridays cooking and dishwashing at the Famous Fish and Chip Dinners, undertaking any extra duties when needed.

The Thunder Bay Wins lottery organization raised money for many recipients including Current River recreation, Westfort senior programs and several organizations assisting the disabled with Peter being a pivotal part of this local worthwhile organization.

Peter's philosophy is 'to give back to the community what he has used' and he has always put this into practice, his calm manner being essential in a crisis or emergency with him finding an appropriate solution to any problem

Thunder Bay is fortunate to have had Peter dedicate his time and talents for over 36 years as a volunteer in our community.

Donna and Eldon Kangas - 3's A Crowd

For the clients at the Manor House Adult Day Program Eldon and Donna Kangas, who together make the duo '3's A Crowd' have been a source of endless entertainment for many years.

Eldon and Donna play a key part in recreational activities at Manor House with Eldon playing the accordion and Donna providing musical background accompaniment to their singing of many popular and recognised songs. Throughout the years 3's A Crowd have been dependable entertainers for the program and during the pandemic they switched their sessions to be virtual, safely managing to reach the clients weekly from their home, when in-person was not an option.

Clients at the Manor House enjoy singing along to their favourite songs, clapping and dancing to the music of 3's A Crowd and a positive change is there for all to see after a music session with Eldon and Donna. Clients at other senior homes within the city also enjoy their talents with the duo giving more of their valuable time whenever needed.

Eldon and Donna give of themselves without expectations bringing smiles, laughter, love, music, hugs, and friendship and helping everyone feel better and more relaxed after a performance.

The staff at the Manor House Day Program are happy to nominate 3's a crowd for this award and are sincerely appreciative of their contributions, their talents, care, compassion, and commitment to improving the quality of the life of seniors. As seniors themselves they are role models to us all.

Krystyna Klamski 

For 6 years Krystyna Klamski has volunteered her time to the Polish Combatants' Association in Canada, Branch number 1.

Krystyna has perfected the art of producing delicious cabbage rolls and countless Pierogis and many members of the local community have satisfied their hunger with her homemade dishes. 

The customers of the Dew Drop Inn have also enjoyed her wares as she regularly donates her time and skill to support their cause. The motto of the Dewdrop Inn 'We feed hungry people' is particularly relevant when Krystyna is cooking her filling dinners and lunches for their hot meal services.

Her time is appreciated as a substitute cook when the occasion arises and she can lend herself to any job, both inside and outside of the kitchen with her experience and attention to detail a valued asset. 

Krystyna has always been a dedicated, reliable volunteer, turning up regularly for her shift with a cheerful and flexible attitude.  She is a pleasure to work with, a team player and always happy to help wherever help is needed.  The Polish Combatants' Association feel lucky to have her. 

Marie Klassen 

Thunder Bay's population, like many others across the world is aging and Age Friendly Thunder Bay is a committee of dedicated stakeholders who wish to ensure that Thunder Bay is a good place to grow old.

Marie Klassen has been one individual that has, for the past 10 years, been strong in her commitment to make this senior movement one we can all be proud of and know that it is accomplishing what is needed for our community.

Sitting on the Board of Directors as both the Treasurer in the past and currently as Vice-Chair, Marie has provided continuous years of leadership to the community and to Age Friendly and has been instrumental in contributing to many objectives for the organization.  Over the past 13 years Age Friendly have applied for and been successful in obtaining over $300 000 in funding and sponsorships, enabling them to carry out their work. 

Marie has served on various working groups as part of the Organization, many of which have led to the relief of loneliness and isolation of the aged and the improvement of their mobility and fitness by establishing services designed to create independence, encourage participation within the community and build networks of like-minded individuals for seniors in our District.

By taking a concept and making it a reality Marie Klassen has been a key part in a movement that has changed the community for older adults and should be proud of the years of service she has so selflessly given. 

Frank MacDiarmid 

Frank MacDiarmid has spent 30 years of his life ensuring the continued acquisition and distribution of food to those in need by giving many hours of his time to the Thunder Bay Food Bank. For 17 of these years Frank served as their Treasurer, taking responsibility for all accounting functions of the organization.

Frank was instrumental in acquiring funding to expand and improve service to the people of Thunder Bay and liaised with a variety of community agencies to identify opportunities to partner or support common goals

Frank's continued advocacy for donations and diligent work to improve funding resulted in the acquisition of a larger location from which the TBFB can operate and the procurement of a walk-in fridge freezer which allows the storage of perishable and healthier food for its clients.

Despite the many hours Frank donated to the Food Bank, he still found time to help his local community in a variety of other ways. Trinity United Church, Nishnawbe Aski Development Fund and the United Way all saw Frank serve on their Boards of Directors at various points.

Frank reluctantly retired from volunteering at the TBFB in 2020 to become his wife's care giver.  He has never sought any recognition or accolades for his decades of service to his community and never forgets who he is there to serve, with compassion being at the core of his life.

The Thunder Bay Food Bank and the wider community thank you Frank for your many years of service. 

Andy McFall 

Andrew (Andy) McFall first started volunteering at Lakehead Psychiatric Hospital in the Rehabilitation Program over 20 years ago. Andy first started with the Friendly Visiting Programme and assisted the Recreation Team with community activities such as Walk with Doc and community barbeques. The Behavioural Activation Program also benefited from Andy's skills and time with his tennis instruction and lessons being enjoyed by many.

In 2005 Andy formalized his volunteering within the Mental Health Outpatient Program becoming a highly valued member of the team, working with the male population, and reaching out to connect with those who might have had a difficult time engaging.  His support was offered to men suffering with depression, with Andy being able to relate and offer a listening ear.  A sense of community was achieved with the men that Andy supported where they felt they could connect and discuss some of their shared struggles.

3 years ago, Andy followed his daughter to serve the Inpatient Mental Health Rehabilitation Program.  He has assisted in the development of the Horticultural Program and a Therapeutic Music/Games Program.  With the pandemic limiting volunteer visits on the unit Andy has been sorely missed, however he still follows up with phone calls to those who need support and a friendly conversation.

St Joseph's care group are extremely grateful to have Andy McFall as part of their valuable volunteer team with his caring and compassionate personality and the commitment he shows in sharing his time and bringing comfort, encouragement, and connection to those who need it most.

Nadia Myhal

Nadia Myhal has been a volunteer instructor for Chaban Ukrainian Dance Group for 9 years, having already been an integral part of the Chaban family since 1988 when she first joined to dance as a young girl.

During her years instructing, Nadia has taken on the responsibility of teaching children's groups spending many hours preparing classes, planning, and teaching choreography and readying children for their performances and competitions.  She has always been an enthusiastic and dedicated instructor and the children she teaches are thoroughly engaged in and enjoy their classes. 

Nadia's greatest and most recent achievement has been her idea to create a class for children under 4 years of age where they can dance with a parent or guardian.  'Parent and Me' was started in 2017 and continues to thrive, filling a need in the community for an affordable activity for young families wanting to learn more about Ukrainian dance.

As a young mother herself, Nadia found the inspiration to create 'Parent and Me', allowing families to experience fun, innovative routines and games, with an emphasis on Ukrainian dance. Participants learn basic rhythm through play and movement and the skills they develop grow with these young dancers. They have even had the opportunity to perform on the Thunder Bay Community Auditorium stage.

Nadia's abilities in leadership, organizational skills and creativity have influenced the group as a whole. She is an extremely valued instructor and everyone at Chaban feel very fortunate to have her involvement. 

Janice Pampu

Since 2015 Janice Pampu has been a key player at the Port Arthur Legion Branch No 5 in a variety of capacities including becoming a member of the Executive as well as the Entertainment and the 'Ways and Means' Chair.

Janice donated many hours introducing and maintaining a social environment for the Legion members and other patrons throughout the city.  She was well known for hosting the Saturday afternoon dance and introducing new and entertaining fundraising activities within the Legion.  One unique example was entitled 'A Taste of Newfoundland' which featured authentic live east coast music and a 'Jiggs' NFLD dinner.

The popular entertainment events and publishing of Janice's Monthly 'Legion Bulletin' newsletter led to, not only a boost in funds raised, but also an increase in public awareness of the Legion Branch and memberships and volunteers for various committees. The Legion is locally recognised, due in part to the commission in 2018 of the 'Field of Poppies' mural on the building's frontage which was nominated for the City's annual 'Arts Award' and was initially suggested by Janice herself.

Janice has also been a dedicated volunteer at the North-End Recreation Centre as a group leader in the 'Kids Can cook Too' after-school program resulting in many children becoming more confident in their cooking skills and developing new friendships through this much needed program.

To this day Janice is still an active volunteer on the Legion's Entertainment Committee and her service and commitment to both organizations is appreciated by all.

Don Pawlett

Don Pawlett joined the Board of Directors at the 55 Plus Centre 15 years ago and has been an integral part of the team in the role of Treasurer, ever since.  His knowledge of the finances and dedication to all jobs such as posting transactions, updating financial statements, and paying bills makes him an essential part of the Board. Don has created and maintained a seamless process in dealing with receivables which he utilizes when processing the 'Drop In' funds; one of the main sources of income for the Board.

Don's knowledge and experience is shared with several Executive Committees, and he is also an active supporter of special events at the centre, often assisting or attending as a participant.

Don also served as the North West Regional Representative for the Older Adults Associations of Ontario for 11 years, as a member of the Finance Committee and helping to organise AGMs and Conferences.  During the Pandemic, Don took the time to connect with many of the Centres regularly by phone to encourage vital participation and attendance at virtual meetings.

At the OACAO Conference in 2021 Don was awarded the 'Regional Award of Excellence' from the association for his hard work and dedication to the Seniors' Centres in Ontario.

Don has proven himself to not only be a 'good' citizen, but a 'great' one over the years at the 55 Plus Centre and as Regional Representative for OACAO, showcasing dedication and professionalism since day one and he is a very deserving recipient of this award.

Kelsi Pettypiece 

Volunteers are the heart and soul of every community and Kelsi Pettypiece has shown that she thoroughly enjoys giving back to her community of Thunder Bay.

Kelsi is a dedicated and motivated member of the city volunteer team and is always one of the first volunteers to take a shift or just connect with organizers even when she is unavailable.  Due to the Pandemic over the past few years, there have been limited volunteer roles available, however, Kelsi has still managed to check in often to see if there were any additional opportunities to get involved in and assist with.

During the self-directed Canada Day activities in 2021, Kelsi's dedication and leadership skills were brought to the forefront.  She spent time assembling 'Take Home Kits' that were provided by the City of Thunder Bay, full of the supplies needed for fun activities for community members to participate in virtually.  Even though there was general uncertainty as to whether these activities would even proceed, Kelsi took on a leadership role and lead three other volunteers in an organized and seamless assembly of over 700 kits in under 2 hours.

Kelsi's gentle, respectful and polite interaction with members of the public of all ages is highly valued. Community members who attend events often have questions, so having a volunteer who can interact in a friendly manner adds to their overall success. 

George Saarinen

Thunder Bay's population, like many others across the world is aging and Age Friendly Thunder Bay is a committee of dedicated stakeholders who wish to ensure that Thunder Bay is a good place to grow old.

George Saarinen has been one individual that has provided dedicated service for the past 9 years, 3 of them working on the Human Resources and Logistics Committee and serving on various other working groups on top of his current Steering Committee activities.

George has been instrumental in contributing to many objectives for the organization.  Over the past 13 years Age Friendly have applied for and been successful in obtaining over $300 000 in funding and sponsorships. These funds have led to opportunities to advance the education of individuals within our District on the attributes and steps to aging safely, enjoying good health while aging and participating fully in the community as an older adult.

Some of these opportunities have included working with the City of Thunder Bay to create an Age Friendly City Services Action Plan, developing an annually awarded Senior award, presenting at the International Conference on Age-Friendly cities regarding Thunder Bay initiatives and their business plan and developing intergenerational education models, increasing awareness, and understanding among the younger population.

George's continuous years of leadership and commitment to the Age Friendly Organization have been instrumental in the growth of a movement that can change the community for older adults and set the direction for the ever-growing aging population.

Senior Music Makers

The residents, staff, families, and life enrichment team of Bethammi Nursing Home are extremely grateful for the talents of the Senior Music Makers who have been committed to helping to improve the quality of life for seniors living in long-term care in Thunder Bay for over 20 years. They are active members of their community, believing in serving those who may not have the opportunity to listen to and watch a live music performance.

They always arrive ready to put on a good show to the packed dining room, chatting and engaging with anyone who is already sitting, waiting for the performance to start.  The residents love singing along to the songs and dancing either on their feet or in their chairs and when the music is lively it creates a happy atmosphere all around.

The Senior Music Makers are led by Enid McKenzie with band members; Veijo Holopainen, Bill Luft, Don Lysak, Lorna Olson, Sheila and Warren Peterson, Ed and Nell Shermack, Dave Silliman, Terry Sinderley and Ken Vezina.  Enid, as band leader is wonderful to both staff and residents, making sure everyone can hear the music, see the entertainers, are having a good time and are participating as fully as possible.

The Bethammi Nursing Home staff and residents are grateful to have community members who are committed to sharing their time and talents. The Senior Music Makers deserve this special award as a token of everyone's appreciation and with anticipation of many more good times ahead.

Betty Simard

Any members of the Euchre Card Group at the Thunder Bay 55 plus Centre would recognise Betty Simard and her husband Ken for their total love of the game.  Betty has been a steadfast, reliable volunteer for 20 years and is still going strong.

Betty has been the volunteer convenor of the group, organizing the games, taking the drop-in fee, acting as the contact for the centre and reaching out to members whenever needed. During the pandemic, even though the game was not being played, Betty stayed in touch with participants, listening to their comments and concerns about re-opening.  She was quick to communicate back the comfort levels of the members of the group, aiding in the decision making in the timeline of the return to the game.

Betty has also been an integral part of the team that plans, organizes, and executes the Northwest Seniors Games (NWSG) each year since 2006.  The NWSG promote friendly competition and an active lifestyle for those 55 and older in our community and are held locally in June each year, with a group from Thunder Bay being sent every other year to represent our community at a provincial level. Betty has been instrumental in spearheading initiatives to raise much needed funds to run the games and support those attending provincially.

Betty Simard has shown her dedication and commitment to the Thunder Bay 55 Plus Centre since 1999 in very many ways and the centre is happy to show their appreciation by having her receive the Good Citizen Award.

The Singing Seniors

The Singing Seniors, led by Janet Pike have been performing in our community for over 20 years rotating through Hogarth Riverview Manor and Bethammi nursing Homes, Southridge Pinewood, the City of Thunder Bay Seniors Homes, and Chartwell Isabella Retirement Residence.

All the residents have come to know the group members and eagerly anticipate their monthly performances. They can be sure to arrive smiling and happy to see their audience and assist staff in escorting residents to the performances, allowing for a larger crowd and more audience participation. During any performance each member can be found engaging residents by walking through the crowd, singing, clapping, smiling, and using a variety of musical props, encouraging their audience to sing along to their favourite songs.

When not in their singing roles, many of the group's members can be found in various other roles, sharing their time and talents as registered volunteers at Hogarth Riverview Manor, assisting residents wherever necessary.

All members of the Singing Seniors volunteers share their talents freely, giving without expectation.  They each bring smiles, laughter, love, music, hugs, and friendship to residents who may not have had the opportunity to engage with their community or to listen to and sing along with live music.

The staff at Hogarth Riverview Manor Therapeutic Recreation Services are very appreciative of their contributions, their talents, care, compassion, and commitment to improving the quality of life of so many seniors.  As a group of seniors themselves they inspire and are a role model for everyone around them.

Darla Smith

Darla Smith has been a dedicated volunteer and Program Facilitator to the First Nation Peer Support group at the Canadian Institute for the Blind for over 20 years. Darla's respect and passion for the First Nation culture and her kind and helpful nature has fostered a level of trust among the participants that is truly one of a kind.

Due to the pandemic Darla has supported the group in meeting virtually, ensuring that much of the conversation is focused on awareness and accessing resources and vaccinations whilst also ensuring basic needs and the need for self-care are being met. The group also engages in cultural storytelling, lived experiences and familial traditions plus discusses challenges associated with being a marginalized group and experiences of racial stereotyping whilst also being blind or partially sighted.

Once in-person programming can once again safely resume, monthly meetings will take place whilst weekly virtual meetings will still be offered. One of Darla's goals for the group, moving forward, is to offer the virtual sessions in Indigenous language (Ojibwe and Oji-Cree) to encourage broader participation from remote northern reserve communities, increase cultural inclusion and raise awareness of CNIB and their programs and services.

Darla's commitment to the group has resulted in the blooming of friendships and the making of connections that have developed and grown because of her compassion and encouragement.

Thank you, Darla, for your commitment and dedication to CNIB for so many years.

Judy Soltys

The residents at the PR Cook apartments in Thunder Bay have been the recipients of Judy Soltys' many hours of volunteer service since 1979! In the early days of Judy's volunteer role, she was particularly active at the Bethammi Nursing Home running Bingo and helping residents with crafts and recreation activities as well as being a regular visitor to many of the seniors that called Bethammi their home.

Her busy volunteer schedule at the Bethammi home did not, however, prevent her from donating much of her time to the residents of her own building at the PR Cook apartments where she assisted with Bingo, set up refreshments for entertainers, helped set up the regular tenants' meetings and ran movie nights.  Judy has always been known as the person who gets to know everybody and as such, she enjoyed making connections between everyone around her, building a thriving community.

Judy played the part of 'Benny Birch' every year at Benny Birch's Birthday and could also often be seen playing the part of Santa at the Santa Claus Parade and at many Christmas dinners at St Joseph's Heritage.

Even now Judy can still be found supporting the PR Cook apartments every day by delivering papers and calendars to her fellow tenants, helping with the dining program, teas and anywhere else she may be needed, bringing a huge smile wherever she goes.

Everyone at the PR Cook apartments is thankful to have Judy on their team, demonstrating her care, compassion, and commitment to others every day.

Louise Taylor

Louise Taylor first began volunteering at the Lakehead Psychiatric Hospital in 2015 as part of the Peer Council Program until programs transitioned from LPH to St Joseph's Health Centre where Louise earned her certification as a Peer Support Specialist in 2016.

For the past 5 years Louise has been committed to sharing her valuable time supporting clients and community partners through her role. Louise's personality and care and compassion for those that need it the most is apparent in everything she does, from leaving her career to support a vulnerable family member in need, to the little things that bring joy to the hearts of her peers, fellow volunteers, and staff.

Louise always demonstrates tremendous care for the clients she meets, taking time to ensure that they get what they need.  Recently a client that Louise had supported on an inpatient unit expressed interest in attending the Peer Connections Program at St Joseph's Health Centre upon discharge. Louise ensured that she knew when the client would be attending so that she was there to meet her on arrival for a warm welcome and support as she participated for the first time. This is just one of many examples of the commitment that Louise makes to taking care of the people she serves, showing compassion and empathy to all. 

St Joseph's Health Centre is grateful to have Louise Taylor as part of their valuable volunteer team and her generous and caring nature have made her an exceptional volunteer in the Peer Connections Program.

Thunder Bay Military Family Resource Centre - Advisory Council 

The Thunder Bay Military Family Resource Centre is an organization that was formed to enhance the quality of life and enrich the military experience for families by providing specialized programs and services to promote health, education, deployment, and social well-being.

The MFRC Advisory Council for Thunder Bay consists of Kerry McLaughlin, Irene Wyrozub, Fran Trane, George Romick, Cindy Allen and Pat Johansen, the majority of whom have been serving for over 20 years.

This committed band of volunteers attend the monthly meetings and lend their expertise to each and everything that the MFRC are involved in.  The MFRC offer many services including providing information and referral services, acting as Reserve support and family contacts during times of deployment and employment and education assistance.

The centre runs a variety of special events and programs at which you will always find a willing member of the council assisting wherever help is needed.  Even during the global pandemic, the Council could be relied upon to be available whenever they were called upon.

Everyone that uses the Thunder Bay Military Family Resource Centre thank the team for their time, effort and hard work and their willingness to provide support to all the military families in Thunder Bay.  This extraordinary volunteer team are appreciated by all for their contributions over the past 20 years.

Donna Vantaa

The Oliver Road Community Centre is the home to the Ladies Auxiliary, of which Donna Vantaa has been a keen member for over ten years.

The Christmas Tea and Bazaar and the Winter Carnival have always been popular fundraisers at the Centre and Donna has often been a keen volunteer, lending her time to selling tickets and making sandwiches for these events. She can also be found assisting at the fall indoor yard sales, making sure everyone is in the right place to find a bargain!  These fundraisers are vital for ensuring that the centre is always able to supply the essentials and upgrade appliances whenever necessary.

Donna doesn't just keep herself busy fundraising but can also be found assisting wherever there is a need at the Community Centre.  Whenever the janitor is unavailable Donna will be the first to volunteer her time to make sure everything is in tip top shape.

Donna has consistently proved herself to be a diligent hard worker who is more than willing to contribute her time whenever she is asked. Many members of the Thunder Bay community have Donna and the Ladies Auxiliary to thank, in part, for the excellent facilities that are offered by their local Community Centre when utilized for a range of different events.

The Oliver Road Community Centre is grateful for all that she does and is pleased to nominate Donna for the Good Citizen Award.

Pauline Vesterback

The Oliver Road Community Centre is the home to many community activities and groups including the Ladies Auxiliary, of which Pauline Vesterback has been a keen member since 2013.

The Christmas Tea and Bazaar has long been a popular fundraiser at the Centre and Pauline has been a keen volunteer selling tickets and whipping up a variety of sandwiches, pierogies and an assortment of baked goods for everybody to enjoy.

The Fall indoor yard sales are another popular event that Pauline assists with, making sure that everyone that visits has refreshments to keep them energised whilst finding treasures.

The fundraisers that Pauline assists with are vital for ensuring that the Centre is always able to supply the essentials for the many events that it hosts. The upgrading of appliances is also necessary every so often and the funds raised ensure that this can always be achieved. 

Pauline doesn't just keep herself busy fundraising but can also be found at Association Board meetings and holds the office of General Secretary.

Pauline has consistently proved herself to be a conscientious and committed volunteer who is happy to contribute her time whenever necessary.  Many members of the Thunder Bay community have Pauline and the Ladies Auxiliary to thank, in part, for the excellent facilities that are offered by their local Community Centre and for the array of refreshments provided at local events.

The Oliver Road Community Centre is grateful for all that she does and is happy to nominate Pauline for the Good Citizen Award.

Bob Welsh

Since May 2006, Bob Welsh has put time aside from his busy schedule to volunteer as both a driver and server for the Meals on Wheels service both as a regular weekly volunteer and serving as a 'spare' for whenever he is called upon.

The peace of mind that comes with a friendly volunteer checking in, offering a level of social support, and delivering a nutritious meal daily to people that are in need is of utmost importance to friends and family of Meals on Wheels clients.  Bob is invariable cheerful, obliging, helpful and committed in the performance of his volunteer duties.  He provides encouragement to many of his fellow volunteers and was also enlisted as a trainer to new volunteers due to his patience and friendly personality.

Bob has acted as an ambassador to the Meals on Wheels service, actively helping with recruitment of volunteer drivers and servers which was of utmost importance during the pandemic when meals continued to be delivered using a contactless delivery method. Before, during and after the most unprecedented times, Bob's commitment and dedication has helped many local people in need throughout our community.

Bob's kind heart and dedication has been a great asset to the Meals on Wheels service for over 15 years and he is a very deserving recipient of this award.

Heather and Ken White 

Heather and Ken White are loyal, dedicated and committed volunteers for the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation and they can always be called upon to help with anything that is necessary.  Heather and Ken have been found selling raffle tickets at the Intercity 50/50, Bearskin Airlines Hope Classic or Save a Heart Car Raffle.  Before the Covid Pandemic, they would assist on the golf course, helping at a contest hole at various fund-raising tournaments or acting as day-of-event volunteers at the Tbaytel Motorcycle Ride for Dad, the Tbaytel Luncheon of Hope, or the Resolute Save a Heart Ball.   

Due to the pandemic, the Foundation decided to sell the Intercity 50/50 tickets online but still had to individually fill in all ten thousand tickets with each buyer's name, address, and phone number which, without The White's help, would have been an even more daunting task.

Since March 2020, the Foundation has not had any volunteers physically back into the offices at the Hospital, however, from their home address, Heather and Ken have filled thousands of mail-out packages during weekdays, nights, and weekends, ensuring they meet deadlines.

There is no job too big or too small for Heather and Ken and they have become the number one go-to volunteers at the Foundation when something needs to be done.  They are always asking for more tasks to assist with and never expect anything in return.  They enjoy volunteering and just want to make a difference in their community, and they have certainly done that for the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation.

Tom Zimmerman

Tom Zimmerman first started his volunteer work at Grandview Lodge in 2014, assisting with recreation programs and friendly visiting and over time, Tom developed many strong relationships with the residents. When Grandview Lodge shut its doors for the final time, Tom assisted with the relocation of the residents into their brand-new facility and his kindness and comforting presence was instrumental in ensuring the residents' move was less stressful.

After the closure of Grandview Lodge, Tom chose to remain volunteering within the city homes and continued his work at Pioneer Ridge.  There he has demonstrated his ongoing dedication and commitment to provide a better quality of life and comfortable environment for the residents.

Creating the perfect outdoor space for seniors to enjoy was high on his list of priorities and he assisted with the installation of the 'Butterfly/Memory Gardens' and waterfalls.  There was no task too difficult for Tom and after completion he treated everyone there to the first of many concerts and surprised everyone with his musical abilities.

During the pandemic Tom continued to entertain safely with his 'virtual visits and music' and now Tom is more than happy to screen, take rapid tests and wear the appropriate PPE to assist residents with home area programs or to treat them to his gift of music.

Tom continues to enhance the psychosocial wellbeing of the residents at Pioneer Ridge, exceeds volunteer expectations and everyone feels very fortunate to benefit from his dedication.

 2021/2022 Spirit of Thunder Bay

Wayne Bilbrough 

For over 41 years, Wayne Bilbrough has served as a committed volunteer for several organizations within Thunder Bay, determined to make a difference in the well-being of our community.

In 1979 Wayne began to take on the role of developing soccer for youth and he took the opportunity to organize mini-league soccer at volunteer pool.  The number of players increased from 125 to over 1950 by the year 2000 and other clubs started to open across the city with a boys and a girls division.  Wayne’s involvement with Volunteer Pool Soccer spanned over 30 years, playing a pivotal role in promoting and contributing to the evolution of soccer in Thunder Bay.

Since 2010 Wayne has been a volunteer at the Thunder Bay Carvers, organizing 2 spaces at the Hymers Fair and assisting with making a variety of beautiful carvings to adorn the Chippewa Park Carousel.  Wayne’s involvement has contributed to The Carvers financial stability and member skill development whilst significantly reducing the cost of the restoration of the carousel itself.

Wayne has for many years been a dedicated volunteer for the Peng You Taiji Quan Association.  His many responsibilities have included contributing directly to the success of the Taiji International Forum, designing, organizing, and printing over 190 cards for the 2020 Christmas Card Project and working diligently to make the International Taiji Park at the Marina a reality.

The Community of Thunder Bay have much to thank Wayne Bilbrough for, having provided leadership, event co-ordination and goal achievement for so many worthwhile projects which adults and youth enjoy to this day. 

Gary Christian and Family 

When many people would be spending time with friends and family, during holidays such as Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving, Gary can be found cooking and serving anyone that is hungry at the Dew Drop Inn. His commitment and dedication to serving the people of Thunder Bay is something that he has passed on to his whole family, bringing his wife and children to cook and serve alongside him on the important days of the year.

Gary’s volunteerism did not end there.  From as far back as 2001, Gary began volunteering at the Shrine Circus, helping with their regular fundraiser, until it was discontinued in 2018, despite not being a Shriner himself.  He could also be found driving the Shrine Fundraising Train at every summer street festival, entertaining adults, and children alike.

The Masonic Chip Program uses modern techniques to create a child identification kit allowing critical identifying information to be shared faster than ever before, to assist with the recovery of missing children.  With his business acumen, Gary was instrumental as a principal organizer, dedicating countless hours, taking charge of funding, equipment and volunteers making this one of the most successful programs in the Grand Lodge jurisdiction.

Gary Christian and his family have embraced volunteerism as a way of life and Gary himself is undoubtedly a role model for everyone around him.  For his and his family’s selfless efforts, Gary Christian and his family deserves to be recognized by the city that he has contributed so much to. 

Frank Gerry 

Frank Gerry has been a dedicated volunteer to the Thunder Bay Historical Museum Society for over 20 years, assisting at most of its social events, fundraisers, exhibit openings and public lectures. This has allowed the organization to grow financially and administratively and now has a robust education program for schools and exhibits for the education of the community.  It also provides employment opportunities for six permanent employees and over a dozen temporary and contract employees.  The organization can continue to offer free public lectures, camps, walking tours, travelling exhibits and contributes to many Thunder Bay programs and events.

Frank’s personal experience in business locally, knowledge of Thunder Bay history and community connections continues to be an invaluable asset to the society.  Frank has also provided steadfast leadership to the Board of Directors as a Director, a Treasurer and for more than a decade, as Chair and President of the society. His leadership has helped the organization through many significant events including, but not limited to effective fundraising to support operations of the Thunder Bay Museum and the succession of both long-term incumbents of the Director and Curator positions.

It is due to Frank’s leadership of the Board of Directors that the organization has become a robust community leader and although Frank has stepped down as President of the Society, he still plays a pivotal role on the Board of Directors.  The Thunder Bay Historical Museum Society are delighted to nominate Frank for this award. 

Jamie Hnatiw 

Jamie Hnatiw began her time at the Thunder Bay Police Youth Corps as a cadet and as she aged, she steadily moved through the ranks.  Once she aged out, she became an Inspector and has also held the positions of Superintendent, Administration Officer, and Deputy Commanding Officer, second in command to the Commanding Officer.

Wherever the Youth Corps has a presence, be it for security reasons, directing traffic and making appearances at formal gatherings, Jamie can be found supervising, ensuring the Police Youth Corps maintains its high calibre reputation as a visible, community-friendly youth group.  These events have included the Terry Fox Run, Remembrance Day Parade, and the Thunder Bay Police Memorial. The Westfort Kiwanis Christmas Tree sales owe much of their success each year to the assistance of the members of the Youth Corps as they unload trees on arrival, assist customers and help to load purchases into cars and trucks.

Jamie has played an integral role in teaching the cadets to become positive role models in their community and help them develop their confidence to become well rounded young adults. 

Jamie is a well-respected member of our community and both leaders and cadets believe she is very deserving of this award. 

Daryle Martin 

Since her daughter took an interest in swimming over twenty years ago, Daryle Martin has been involved with the swimming community.  She started as a parent volunteer, chaperoning, and driving to major swim meets whenever necessary, often travelling to Winnipeg, Kenora or Fort Frances to supervise, act as a timer or officiate.

After Daryle’s daughter left for university, she continued her own training and after years of great effort and hard work on her part, Daryle became a Masters Level 5 Official – demonstrating an extremely high level of officiating.  As an official, Daryle travelled to the 2021 FINA World Swim Championships in the United Arab Emirates to act as one of the top six Canadian Event Officials for FINA.

Daryle has not only spent many hours volunteering and raising her family but also has managed this whilst working full-time in a Senior Management role with GlaxoSmithKline.  But her dedication to and passion for the swim community has always enabled her to find the time to volunteer, mentoring, developing, and training many Thunder Bay community members.

Not only has Daryle given so much of her own time but she has also encouraged many other parents to volunteer and get involved in local and regional meets and she is always available when training or support is needed.

The swimming community as a whole and many of the Thunder Bay community members have benefitted from Daryle’s dedication and commitment to volunteering and her talent for officiating and she is thoroughly deserving of this award. 

Sandra Stewart 

Sandra Stewart has been generously donating her time and energy to the 55 Plus Centre in Thunder Bay, in a variety of ways for over 15 years.

Sandra started her volunteer work at the centre in the River Street Cafe, a position she continues to hold many years later even during the Covid closure, when she continued her work in the kitchen to ensure the seniors in the community received the meals they so desperately needed.

Due to her commitment to the River Street Cafe, Sandra chose to join the Food Board in 2019 where she has been able to offer her knowledge and skills in a productive and collaborative way. Whilst serving as Vice Chair, Sandra was thrust into the leadership role due to the unexpected passing of the Chair during the already turbulent times of the Covid pandemic.  Sandra, however, learnt on the fly and the cafe continued to succeed due to committed volunteers like her.

Sandra has been a strong supporter of many of the Centre’s special events over her 15 years.  She was a driving force behind the Dessert and Fashion Show and also acted as the MC of the Annual Two-Bit Auction.

On top of the many hours, she donates to the centre, Sandra is an avid supporter of Christmas Cheer, The Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre, The Canadian Cancer Society and Little Lions Waldorf Daycare.

When Sandra is volunteering, she does so with great pride and dedication, exuding grace, and humility and to this day, she continues to show her unwavering commitment. 

Barbara Warf 

Barbara Warf earned her 20-year pin at the 55 Plus Centre in 2021 and her time as a volunteer has been spent in a variety of ways.

Barb’s volunteer role began in the gift shop working as a cashier then moving on to become the Gift Shop Treasurer, maintaining the books to this day.  As the gift shop evolved from using a manual cash register to a computerised system, Barb evolved as well, learning how to use any new software.  Her appreciation of numbers has served her well in her role as Volunteer Assistant, recording volunteer hours and adapting to new databases and different procedures throughout the years. 

Since 2002 Barb has been a valued member of the Income Tax team at the 55 Plus Centre, a vital service to many seniors in our community.  During the Covid Pandemic, the Income Tax Clinic was forced to become virtual, and Barb was able to, once again, transfer her skills and offer services by phone and by processing drop offs at her home.

Barb has proven time and time again what an asset she is to the seniors in our community and to the volunteer program at the 55 Plus Centre.  She has continued to grow and develop over the years and is always willing to progress as the systems change with the times.  Barb is an extremely worthy recipient of the Spirit of Thunder Bay Award and the 55 Plus Centre are happy to nominate her. 

2021/2022 Youth

Marcus Grillo 

Both prior to and during the pandemic, Grade 12 student Marcus Grillo has been kept exceptionally busy both within and outside of his high school community.

During his time at his high school of Saint Ignatius, Marcus has served as an Ambassador helping with after school events, such as the Grade 8 Open House night and for two years running, scorekeeping and working on the door at the Falcon Boys Basketball Invitational.

Within the surrounding community Marcus has been highly involved with the Thunder Bay Community Tennis Centre, serving as a volunteer within their youth summer programming for 2 summers and as the junior representative on the Tennis Board for monthly meetings.  He is passionate about promoting the sport of Tennis to youth in the community and helping to grow the number of participants.

Marcus saw a great opportunity to raise funds for Camp Quality whilst also promoting another sport, 'Spikeball'.  He decided to organize a weekend Spikeball tournament with each team paying a $40.00 registration fee. Marcus then convinced several companies to donate both Spikeball equipment and winners prizes. The tournament was greatly received and participants from teenagers to their mid forties took part in the weekend long event.  Through his endeavours, Marcus raised a total of $1200 which was gratefully received by the Camp Quality charity.

Marcus has proven to be a passionate and remarkable young man both within and outside of his school community and the sport of Tennis of has benefitted from his dedication. 

Faith Hayden 

During her time at St Ignatius High School, Faith Hayden has become known for her commitment to volunteering within the wider community.

Faith first started becoming involved in volunteering with the Geraldton Fish Derby where she volunteered her time selling food and drink to the public. As well, the KOA benefitted from Faith’s commitment to service with her assisting in many of their fundraising activities including ice-cream socials, pancake breakfasts and even a summer easter-egg hunt.  The proceeds that Faith has helped to raise all go to help children affected by cancer enjoy some care-free time through the KOA Care Camps charity.

More recently, Faith has been volunteering with youth bowling at Mario Bowl's 5-pin youth bowling program by providing one-on-one help to youth bowlers, giving them more opportunity to practice and enhance their skills whilst in turn, allowing other youth bowlers to benefit from the assistance of the coaches. Following her volunteering experience in this field, Faith is hoping to achieve her Bowling Coach certification so that she can continue to help youth in this area in the future.

Even though her free time is often occupied by one of her many volunteer roles, she has recently started using her photography skills this year as part of a school club named the 'Green Team.'

Faith is truly dedicated to helping others and sees herself continuing to volunteer in the future. It seems certain that Faith will continue to find ways to help others going forward in her life.

Timothy Johnson 

The Thunder Bay Police Youth Corps' motto is 'Lead by Example' and Staff Sergeant Timothy Johnson certainly lives up to this phrase.

Staff Sergeant Johnson has been a member of the Thunder Bay Police Youth Corps since 2015 and has moved up the ranks as he has grown, gaining more and more responsibility with time served. The main goal of the Youth Corps is to increase each Cadet's confidence by preparing them for community involvement, promoting good citizenship and developing leadership skills.  Timothy has excelled in many of the above areas and continues to do so.

Each year, pre-covid, the Youth Corps would take part in events such as the Police Memorial, the Terry Fox Run, the Remembrance Day Parade, and the Polar Bear Plunge.  Even during Covid the Kiwanis club still held their popular seasonal fundraiser of selling Christmas Trees and the Youth Corps were right there alongside them.  The members of the Corps do not shy away from hard work and unloading of trees and loading into people's vehicles were just some of their tasks!  Timothy was there directing the team and making sure everyone had a job.

Every Wednesday the Corps meets up and Timothy has regular responsibilities including getting the flag ready, assisting with drills, inspecting uniforms, and speaking to anyone to who needs a reminder on their dress code.

Staff Sergeant Johnson is always respectful, positive, and keen, taking initiative at every event and he is respected in everything he does by the Cadets and operational staff and the Thunder Bay Police Corps feel very fortunate to have him. 

Carley Kiiskila 

Carley Kiiskila has become known for her generosity of time both inside and outside of her school environment having donated over 178 hours towards helping our community thrive. She is president of the school council at her high school, ESCD la Vérendrye, as well as being involved in various other committees in the wider community.

Carley has served as Chair and Fundraising Representative of the United Way Youth for Community Granting Committee and has also organised and spoken at the United Way's Intergenerational Volunteer Workshop.

Being an active member of the Big Thunder Nordic Ski Club has been important to Carley with her serving as an Athlete Representative on the Board of Directors and volunteering as a ski coach for ski camps and training opportunities for youth athletes.

Carley was a dedicated member of RECFO et le comité d'affaires interne between 2020-2021 and then took on the role of Vice President of Communications between 2021 and 2022.  In addition, Carley took on the position of the Mental Health Ontario's student representative for her school on the Equity in School Mental Health Project and has recently co-founded the homework club at ESCD La Vérendrye.

Carley has taken the lead in taking care of the school garden during the summer enabling the hospitality class to use all home-grown products upon return to school in the fall and it is apparent that Carley's desire to make an impact in our community and in school makes her a deserving recipient of this award. 

Harrison Nelson 

Volunteering has long been a tradition within the Nelson Family and Harrison learnt early on from his parents, the many gifts that volunteerism offers. Since then, Harrison Nelson's volunteer efforts have been appreciated by many organizations.

At the Red Lake Heritage centre Harrison has volunteered as an Event Assistant and helped with water distribution at the Red Lake Triathlon. He has donated hours of his time to coaching children's soccer and served as a mentor in the Beaver Kit program.

Upon entering high school, Harrison's contribution to his community through volunteering became more formalized.  The Canadian National Institute for the Blind's technology program welcomed Harrison serving as an assistant and he has helped many members of his wider community by assisting with RFDA Food Drives and distributing bike lights for Eco Superior.

For the last 5 years Harrison has been a volunteer tutor and the youngest ever Volunteer Advisory Board member for the Children's Aid Society of Thunder Bay.  The services that Harrison has assisted with include recipient surveying, fundraising, information technology projects, hosting virtual National Volunteer Week events and volunteer training sessions. His drive has led him to find creative solutions to tutoring school age children virtually, offering them safe support.

Harrison is an enthusiastic assistant to his father and co-volunteer and can be found helping him with food deliveries all around the local area.

The Children's Aid Society and wider community is very grateful to Harrison for the creative and generous use of his time. 

Maya Poulin 

Throughout Thunder Bay, the Chaban Ukrainian Dance Group is known as a leader in the development of Ukrainian Dance and the preservation of Ukrainian heritage.  Maya Poulin has been integral in their success as a dedicated dancer and later, a teacher and Executive Member over the last 17 years.

As a teacher for children's groups and small classes, her positive energy and love of Ukrainian dance has enthused all her student dancers. They have been regular performers at the Folkore, Lakehead Musical, Manitoba Ukrainian Dance and Canadian National Ukrainian Dance Festivals and entertained various Long Term Care Homes over the years.

Maya's leadership skills have been essential in the day-to-day running of the dance group.  If there is something that needs doing Maya will jump straight in to help.  Whether it is her positive approach to teaching or her selfless attitude in assisting others, Maya has been an inspiration to many others. Whether taking part in competitions or performing for seniors, Maya can often be found braiding hair, assisting with drills, or organizing props. She has even taken on the part of Chaban's contest spokesperson on 'Around Town'.

For a young lady amid a very busy University course in health care and as a keen volunteer at the Dewdrop Inn, Maya still manages to be an organized, committed member of the group. Her reliability and creativity on stage, in the rehearsal hall and at the Executive table is appreciated by all that know her. 

The Citizens of Exceptional Achievement – Thunder Bay’s 50th Anniversary Volunteer Service Awards


In honour of Thunder Bay’s 50th Anniversary, the Official Recognition Committee and 50th Anniversary Steering Committee recognized individuals who have volunteered extensive time toward improving and enriching the community, shown extraordinary leadership, innovation and meaningful voluntary contributions and have a minimum of 50 years of cumulative, documented volunteer service in Thunder Bay.

The 50th Anniversary Award Recipients are:

Alice Chony
For over 50 years, Alice has dedicated her time, resources and knowledge to a variety of local organizations. Alice’s leadership and influence primarily with youth, have shaped future leaders. She is a role model who continues to mentor others to better our community.
Brenda Reimer
Brenda’s work with so many community organizations have provided services, assistance and caring for others. Our community is enriched by having individuals like Brenda give so willing of themselves to the greater community.
Crystal Kell
Crystal has made volunteering a priority in her life, especially in her retirement years. She has dedicated countless hours to so many deserving organizations in Thunder Bay.
Elsie Koivisto 
Elsie was an active and dedicated volunteer at the Thunder Bay 55 Plus Centre for the past 29 years, starting when the centre opened in 1991. Outside of the centre, Elsie left her mark with more than a few organizations such as the Eastern Star, the Ladies Auxiliary Branch 5 of the Port Arthur Legion and a lifetime member of the Ladies of the Moose. Sadly, Elsie passed away before the awards presentation. Her daughter, Sandra Stewart, accepted the award on her mother’s behalf. 

Past winners

More Information:

For more information regarding the Monthly Citizens of Outstanding Achievement and/or the Annual Citizens of Exceptional Achievement awards, please contact Lori Wiitala, Council & Committee Clerk at 625-2962 or by email

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