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

The 46th Annual event was held on April 18, 2023. The annual event has now been cancelled.

Selection Committee

The Selection Committee is comprised of appointed community members representing the various award categories.
2023 Award Winners

2023 Good Citizen 

 Deacon Charles Baumgartner

For seniors in long-term care the volunteers of the Friendly Visiting Program can be a lifeline to relieve loneliness and re-establish community contacts. The companionship offered and friendships that are cemented benefit both the seniors and the visitors. For the Roman Catholic residents at Pioneer Ridge Long-Term Care Home, Deacon Charles Baumgartner has been volunteering to provide spiritual friendly visiting for over five years.

Deacon Baumgartner lives in Manitoba, where he is a very busy member of his church, visiting the sick in hospital, conducting services in long-term care homes and assisting at Mass. When he is visiting Thunder Bay, he never hesitates to volunteer his time to the residents of Pioneer Ridge, providing both small group church services and also one-to-one communion visits to those who would like it.

During the pandemic, when volunteers and services were limited, these visits became increasingly essential due to the isolation that many residents were experiencing. As the vulnerable in our community continue to face a threat from contracting Covid-19, Deacon Baumgartner starts his visits with the added task of screening, rapid testing, and wearing PPE in order to protect the residents. This is always undertaken without complaint or hesitation so that he can enhance the lives of those he visits.

Deacon Baumgartner is a dedicated and committed volunteer, and everybody at Pioneer Ridge long-term care home is honored to nominate him for the Good Citizen Award.

Melanie Beebe
Since 2013 Melanie Beebe has been a valued member of the Thunder Bay Society of Ballet and Dance, as Director for two years and Treasurer for the past seven years.

Melanie is a calm and creative problem solver, and a wonderful team player who is always thinking of the good of the dancers in the Thunder Bay region. She is exceptionally organized, efficient, and diligent in her management of the society’s financial assets and accounts. She frequently attends bank meetings and reports upon the budget whenever required.

Melanie has managed countless fundraisers for the society ensuring scholarship cheques can be awarded to deserving dance recipients at the Lakehead Music Festival, recognizing their talents, and allowing them to further their dance education.

Melanie’s love of the arts, and dance, is always obvious at any meeting and event that she attends. The social media pages of the Thunder Bay Society of Ballet and Dance are enhanced by Melanie’s creation of beautiful advertisements and graphics which has contributed to large attendances at any event held.

By far, Melanie’s favorite part of the year is volunteering as a Ballet Society member at the Lakehead Music Festival. She helps wherever there is a need and enjoys watching the performers grow from year to year.

The Thunder Bay Society of Ballet and Dance thank Melanie for her dedication and hard work. They are happy to nominate her for this award. 

Jennifer Bouchard 

For the past 19 years, whilst raising her own children, Jennifer Bouchard has provided a safe and loving home environment for many children in the fostering system and has made a lasting impact on these children’s lives.

Additionally in 2019 Jennifer became active in the ‘Our Kids Count’ agency as a recommended citizen to join the Planning Team Committee. Our Kids Count, operates under a Community Development model, meeting with community members to direct programs and help decide focus as an agency. Planning Team members also participate in programs and live in the communities that are served.

Jennifer has been an amazing volunteer to the organization, holding both the positions of Secretary and Board Representative on the Planning Team. As a Board Representative Jennifer meets with the Board of Directors monthly to update them on any new ideas the Planning Team has, along with successes and possible future initiatives.

Her activities do not stop there, as Jennifer has also taken the time to facilitate several workshops including an Indigenous Paint and Learn session, beading workshops, and is currently holding a book club.  As a Peer Leader for the Community Kitchens Programs, Jennifer has provided outreach to families ensuring they are fully aware of all that is available to them.

Jennifer is a graduate of the HBA program in Psychology with a minor in Indigenous Learning. Our Kids Count was very happy to sponsor Jennifer to undertake the Leadership Thunder Bay Program, a clear testament to her commitment to furthering her knowledge and skills.

Jennifer is committed to helping our community by enriching her own life and the lives of those in it. She has stepped up and taken the lead when others have been unable to, and, in doing so, she has truly found her voice. Jennifer wants to make a difference in this place we call home. 

Simon Dolega 

While Simon Dolega came to Thunder Bay to study Geology at Lakehead University, he had the talents and energy of an amazing Ukrainian dancer. Coupled with great musical ability, Ukrainian dancing soon became one of his out of school interests.

The Chaban Ukrainian Dance Group has been the grateful recipient of Simon’s volunteerism with him taking on a variety of roles within the group. These have included the role of assistant teacher for teenage dancers, and teaching and choreographing for Chaban’s small group entries in competitions both in Thunder Bay and beyond.  He has also held the role of Executive Member, Coordinator for Chaban’s entries in dance competitions, Co-Assistant Artistic Director for the Ensemble Group, and Co-Choreographer for Ensemble Group dances.

Simon’s debut with Chaban was as ‘Pawn Jovi’ (the Ukrainian version of Bon Jovi) in the 2011/12 dance season where his great stage presence and ability to energize a room shone through. His extensive knowledge of technology and wonderful ear for music, has led him to edit music for Chaban for many years.

Simon’s dances and his work behind the scenes, have been appreciated by audiences and dancers alike. Allowing for the beauty of Ukrainian dance to shine and assisting Chaban to promote Ukrainian culture and traditions through dance. His creativity and talents are refreshing and the caliber and energy of Chaban is ever improved by Simon’s consistent dedication.

Although he may be known as the fellow who performs the amazing back flips and split jumps, there is so much more talent that Simon has shared with many others within our community.  His contribution to Ukrainian dance, culture, the dancers he inspires, and the audiences he entertains, makes him a true candidate for this award. 

Alexa Grant 

The Sister Leila Greco Apartments is a non-profit senior’s supportive housing building. The apartments are designed for seniors who require support to be able to live independently in the community.

Alexa Grant was Sister Leila Greco’s very first volunteer in 2013 when she was a grade nine student. Alexa came to the apartments to lead a group in making a ladybug craft and has continued to enrich the lives and brighten the days of many.

Alexa has always been an integral part of Life Enrichment, volunteering for countless events and activities. She has played a wide variety of games, served endless ice cream cones and hotdogs. She has been a caring listener and has even led a few Conga lines.  She has effortlessly created a rapport and connection with everyone that she has encountered, always sharing her charm and enthusiasm.

All through High School and while attending University in Edmonton, Alexa’s dedication to Sister Leila Greco never waned, returning home for the holidays, and volunteering her time. During the pandemic, Alexa and her dog visited tenants through the windows of their apartments, which brought many smiles and helped combat feelings of loneliness.

It is difficult to express the appreciation, respect, and admiration that the staff, tenants and fellow volunteers have for Alexa. Her thoughtful, caring nature has made her a valuable part of the volunteer team. Her commitment to sharing her time and talents have brought encouragement and connection to those who need it most.

The Therapeutic Recreation Team are proud of and grateful to Alexa for all that she has given to them for the past decade. They are happy to nominate her for the Good Citizen Award. 

Natalia Hibbert 

Since the formation of the Zorya Ukrainian Dance Association in 1997, Natalia Hibbert has been there to support them in their mission of providing instruction in traditional Ukrainian dance to anyone who wishes to learn.

As a youth Natalia had been part of a Ukrainian dance group, both as a dancer and as an instructor. She was eager to ensure that her children had the same opportunity. She became a member of the Board of Directors from 2003-2007, doing an excellent job and taking her responsibilities very seriously. For many years, Natalia has been a Head Instructor with the Zorya dancers, eager to continue her learning and share it with others within the school. 

Natalia’s knowledge of the Ukrainian language and customs has facilitated her in creating a group called the Zorya Carolers. Following an old and much-loved Ukrainian tradition, the Zorya Carolers go from house to house, during the Christmas season. They sing Ukrainian and English Christmas carols to those who love to hear the joyful message of the festive season.

As a dancer Natalia has performed at special events such as the Folklore Festival, Zorya’s Year-end Concert. As an instructor she ensured that the dancers are prepared and ready to respond to requests to perform in our community. In 2019, the Zorya dancers were invited to represent both Thunder Bay and Canada by dancing at Ukraine’s Independence Day celebrations in Kiev. Natalia was there providing support and ensuring that the group were excellent ambassadors for Thunder Bay.

Natalia has been active in improving and enriching both Zorya and our city, and she is an excellent role model for young parents and dancers.  Her dedication has been apparent throughout the years. Her volunteer efforts have helped the Zorya Ukrainian Dance Association grow into, not only the successful dance group that it is today, but a Zorya family that invites anyone that wishes to participate.

Irene Krasniuk

Regional Cancer Care Northwest provides care to people going through cancer treatment and their families. Established in 1948, the program consists of a regional Cancer Centre located in Thunder Bay. Irene Krasniuk has been a dedicated and reliable volunteer there for over 15 years.

Volunteers at the Cancer Centre play a vital role in the journey that the patients, their families, and loved ones take. They are often the very first friendly face they meet after checking in at reception. Many new patients feel overwhelmed, especially at their first appointment, but the gentle reassurance and helpful information that a volunteer can give is always appreciated.

Over her 15 years volunteering Irene has regularly undertaken her four-hour weekly shift, offering a beverage or a snack to anyone that wants it, or a warm blanket, and some friendly conversation to patients and their family members.  She can also be found offering her assistance to people trying to find their way around, helping with the computer, and providing clerical support to staff wherever needed.

Irene and her fellow volunteers at Regional Cancer Care Northwest are all there for the same reason – to give back and make a difference for somebody else.  One of the volunteer team leaders has described Irene as ‘compassionate, thoughtful and dedicated, among one of the most caring people I have met.’

Regional Cancer Care Northwest thanks Irene for her 15 years of service and is happy to nominate her for the Thunder Bay Good Citizen Award.

Brian McKinnon

The Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation is the fundraising arm of the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre. It is through generous donations and events held in our community that the Foundation can fund grants that purchase much needed vital medical equipment for our hospital.

Brian McKinnon has been dedicating his time to the Foundation for over 25 years. This began in the 90’s with the Northern Cancer Research Foundation and has continued with the Health Sciences Foundation after their integration in 2008. He is currently a member of the Board of Directors.

Through his volunteer work with the Foundation, Brian has assisted in liaising with the wider community by providing his support at multiple fundraising events. By sitting on a variety of committees, Brian ensures any funds raised are appropriately disbursed to the area in which they are most needed.

Brian’s continued dedication to the Health Sciences Foundation has had a significant impact on our community, raising the funds needed to ensure better healthcare in our region and helping to put the essential tools into the hands of our medical professionals.

Brian enjoys volunteering and wants to help make a difference in his community. He has certainly achieved that for the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation.

Bonnie Mintenko

Thunder Bay has a wide variety of Community Centres where many neighborhood and community-based events are held.  Oliver Road Community Centre is one of those which benefits from the tireless work of the Ladies Auxiliary and volunteers like Bonnie Mintenko.

Bonnie joined Oliver Road Community Centre in 2013 and has been volunteering her time regularly raising much needed funds for the Centre.  Whenever there is a special occasion, such as the very popular Christmas Tea and Bazaar, Bonnie can be found in the kitchen enthusiastically making delicious sandwiches for visitors to enjoy.  For the Winter Carnival, a community event enjoyed by many, Bonnie spends her time preparing perogies to sell to the eager crowd.

The Spring and Fall Yard Sales bring in a large attendance and Bonnie assists by selling tickets and donating her delicious home-made baked goods to entice the crowds of people in.

Such fundraising events are essential to the Centre, enabling the purchase of items such as chairs, tables, paper products, cleaning supplies, and upgrading older appliances.  All these items are appreciated and utilized by anyone making use of the Community Centre.

Bonnie is described as ‘a good worker, pleasant to all, and willing to contribute whenever asked’ and the Oliver Road Community Centre is pleased to nominate her for the Good Citizen Award
Ian and Shirley Robson

Over the last 14 years Shirley and Ian Robson of the Thunder Bay Horticultural Society have worked tirelessly to rehabilitate and beautify the gardens and environs at Magnus Theatre.

Working on a long-term, sustainable plan for the Magnus gardens, the Robson’s have recruited volunteers to help, and have organized and directed their activities. The team that the Robson’s have assembled, and lead, is an inspiring amalgam of the young and old, those with extensive horticultural experience and those with none. The Robson’s direct this team with impressive skill, motivating, coaching, mentoring, while challenging them.

The Robson’s have also reached out to other stakeholders to magnify the substantial resources required to maintain the extensive scope of the Theatre’s gardens by serving as liaisons between Magnus, the City of Thunder Bay, the Horticultural Society, and the Coalition for Waverley Park.  The Robson’s have effectively brought these groups together by coordinating labour, budgets, and expertise – all to the benefit of the Theatre and the broader community. Their innovative nature has also led to a run-off water collection and storage system which employs an array of barrels, hoses, and controls, in turn keeping the garden watered and preventing flooding in the theatre’s basement and the Central School House.

The Robson’s have pursued all their work at Magnus selflessly, not only in the long hours spent working the gardens, but also by generously purchasing supplies, plants, and refreshments for their team of volunteers. They are both perfect ambassadors for the Theatre, cheerfully greeting patrons, actors, and pedestrians as they make their way through the Theatre’s grounds. Magnus has received numerous compliments regarding the improvements that are being made.

Shirley and Ian’s fine work has had a positive impact on the aesthetic, cultural and economic facets of the Waverly Park Heritage and Waterfront Business Districts and it is an honour to nominate them for the Good Citizen Award.

Aleksa Shermack

Aleksa Shermack has been a key part of the Eleanor Drury Children’s Theatre since she began volunteering as the Director of Annual Productions in 2013.

Working closely with the Board of Directors and Production Team, Aleksa has been instrumental in building a truly actor and child-centreed program, one that has provided open and inclusive artistic spaces for a diverse group of youth in our community.  She has built a team around her that provides an especially safe space for gender fluid and neurodivergent youth, a space in which each actor can thrive and explore new aspects of themselves.

As a leader she has always listened to and incorporated the ideas and perspective of the youth in the program and has invited actors to help design and create their own costumes and props. For the last three productions, Aleksa has invited interested actors to be directly involved in the script writing process, while providing them with the support they need to see their projects through to completion.

During Covid, Aleksa led the effort to move the programming online and has been a key part of outreach to remote communities, resulting in being able to incorporate an actor from Moose Factory into each play since 2020.

Beyond being central to their mission to provide low-cost, high quality children’s theatre to our community, Aleksa inspires the best in all the Eleanor Drury actors and puts them at the centre of each production.

Her involvement in community projects sponsored, and supported by Eleanor Drury Children’s Theatre, has meant that she has been able to touch the lives of youth outside of the organization as well.  Aleksa has run participant-driven projects for the Boys and Girls Club, has been instrumental in organizing and delivering the Forum Theatre Program and, has been a key part of the In-School Art Programming connected to annual productions.

The Actors of the Eleanor Drury Children’s Theatre and their families provide consistently high praise of Aleksa, and she is more than deserving of the Good Citizen Award.
Jack Verhoeven

The Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP) has existed since 1971 and is a longstanding partnership between the Canada Revenue Agency, community organizations and their volunteers.

Participating organizations host free tax clinics where volunteers’ complete income tax and benefit returns for eligible individuals to ensure they receive, or continue to receive, the benefits and credits they are entitled to.

For the low-income seniors of our community, this service is hosted solely by the Thunder Bay 55 Plus Centre, and Jack Verhoeven has been consistently volunteering his time for the past 20 years.

Jack’s friendly smile and kind demeanor have put many people at ease during the yearly stress of filing taxes. He would always make sure to share the process and the numbers as he went along, ensuring people understood what was happening and what they could expect, either by way of return, or heaven forbid, the amount they may have to pay.

After 20 years of volunteering Jack has decided that he would not participate in the program this year, explaining that it was time to make room for younger people to get a foot in the door.

Jack will be busy spending his time participating in clubs such as Gyro, a business networking and sharing group that discusses the stock market, while also taking some well-earned time for himself, participating in his favorite hobbies, reading, and gardening.

Jack has been such an important part of the Senior’s Income Tax Program and has watched it evolve into the program it is today, which Jack has diligently provided with humility and grace.  Anyone who came to see him has been treated with respect and dignity, and he will be sorely missed. It is an honour to recognize the incredible dedication that he has shown with the Good Citizen Award.

Darlene Wilson

Leadership Thunder Bay is a charitable non-profit organization that provides leadership development opportunities for individuals, organizations, and businesses in Thunder Bay.

Darlene Wilson has been an active Committee Volunteer and Member of the Board since her graduation in 2008. Darlene is currently Chair of the Communication committee and has also sat on the Recruitment & Selection and Engagement & Development committees.

The work that the organization does is both beneficial for businesses and future leaders of our community. It is designed to help participants acquire both a broader understanding of the critical issues locally and the leadership skills necessary to resolve them; this work is something Darlene is passionate about.

Devoting much of her time to ensuring board governance and branding remains accurate, Darlene has ensured that a quality program has been provided to the City of Thunder Bay.  She is now on her second term as a Board Director with her opinion and ideas always generating meaningful conversation and her point of view being highly valued.

Leadership Thunder Bay would like to thank Darlene for her dedication and service to the Board and her continued volunteerism.  Without volunteers like Darlene, Leadership Thunder Bay would not be able to achieve their mission of developing, strengthening, and connecting leaders to and within our community.

Peng You 

For over 25 years, Peng You has spent countless hours as a dedicated volunteer for the betterment of the community of Thunder Bay and district.  He has served in many volunteer capacities, has been key in promoting Tai Chi as a health benefit, and the City of Thunder Bay as a destination.

As an official ‘Master’ of Tai Chi, Peng You introduced the art to Thunder Bay on a large scale, establishing the ‘Peng You Taiji Quan Association’ and holding an International Forum on Taiji’, bringing international participants and Grand Masters from China.  Since these events, China has recognized Thunder Bay as the ‘Tai Chi City’ of Canada and Centre of Excellence for Taiji Quan.

Over the years, Peng You has provided numerous Tai Chi demonstrations to diverse groups. He has taught and trained instructors to qualify as teachers. He has also arranged for the Grandmaster to visit and teach Tai Chi Workshops. At Canada Day celebrations Peng You has taught and organized participants, with the gathering in 2003 being the largest at one time and per capita practicing Tai Chi outside of China.

The International Taiji Park at the Marina became a reality in 2012 after much planning and fundraising initiated by the Peng You Taiji Quan Association. The park now has three life-size bronze statues provided by Jiaozuo, China, which, without Peng You’s influence, would not have been a possibility.

Free Tai Chi practice sessions during summer months were initiated by Peng You and this continues today. Through the pandemic he offered Zoom workshops helping participants deal with isolation and improve health. In 2018 he was formally accepted at Chen Village, China, the birthplace of Tai Chi, as an ‘inside’ student of Grandmaster Chen in a rare and elaborate ceremony.

In our city Peng You is synonymous with the art of Tai Chi. He has provided leadership, creativity, and innovation on many levels, and has promoted Tai Chi as a health benefit for people of all ages and abilities. Peng You has been a true ambassador for our city, promoting it as a destination for a visit, or to conduct business, or to call home.

Peng You’s name translated from Chinese means ‘Friend’ and this has become his legacy in Thunder Bay and beyond. 

2023 Spirit 

Craig Berglund 

At St. Joseph's Care Group everyone is considered unique, and each person's religious and spiritual life is respected. Spiritual Care is a service available to clients and their loved ones as they deal with the challenges and changes which arise during their stay.

Craig Berglund has been volunteering his time, supporting clients over more than 30 years as a Spiritual Care Volunteer, longer than any Spiritual Care staff have been employed.  Craig is described as ‘being able to talk to anyone about anything’ and is skilled in remembering a face or a name from his earlier years. He can find a point of connection with any hospital patient and can have the most serious person laughing in no time at all.

Craig encourages patients to keep going when they are at their lowest points and is open to sharing his own experiences of trauma, pain, and perseverance.  His faith in God has lent him strength through the tough times and he will speak of this to anyone who may benefit from his story.  Several friendships have developed and extended beyond the hospital setting, creating community for people who have been without.

Craig had several obstacles to overcome to volunteer at St. Joseph's Hospital.  Parking was a challenge, staff supervisors changed regularly, and clients were not always available when he came to visit. Despite finding navigating hospital restrictions a challenge, Craig continued with good humour and grace, and carried on regardless.  During the early years of the pandemic Craig was one of the first volunteers to resume his hospital visits by switching to tele-visits when he could not attend in person. 

St Joseph’s Care Group is grateful to have Craig Berglund as part of their valuable volunteer team.  He is caring, compassionate, and committed to sharing his time and talents, bringing encouragement and connection to those who need it most and is very deserving of this award.

Myra Bjorn 

Born in England in 1941, Myra Bjorn came to Rainy River and worked in bush camps until she moved to Thunder Bay, continuing her education, and graduating as an Registered Nurse.

Myra has given much of her free time to the 55 Plus Centre, the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra, and the Northwest Senior Games, despite being busy with her growing family.  She is a valued member of the Hilldale Lutheran Church and is responsible for the coordination of funerals, showers, and other church gatherings. Through her many hours of giving, Myra has met many individuals and has encouraged them to join in with their own volunteerism.

After her retirement from nursing Myra never stopped working. Many a charity has benefitted from her skill in knitting, making countless items for the less fortunate, whilst collecting socks and underwear for charities to distribute.

In 1997 Myra joined the Thunder Bay Food Bank as a volunteer, the Board of Directors in 2014, and has been instrumental in recruiting others to support its ongoing needs. Her dedication has brought many members and volunteers to help the operations and, even after her retirement from the Board, she continued to lend her time and efforts. Her passion for helping the less fortunate has led her to support the accessibility of more culturally appropriate food for all, ensuring food orders are placed for Halal meat.

Myra’s work in the food security sector has seen her also lending her time to ‘Empty Bowls, Caring Hearts Thunder Bay’ where she has been an essential part of their fundraising efforts every year.

Myra can often be found supporting her neighbours when nursing matters arise and helps ease their transition home.  Her organization of pizza nights and birthday parties, providing opportunities for others to make social connections and building community in her own apartment complex, have not gone unnoticed.

Myra Bjorn has, for many years, been dedicated to the betterment of our community. Although she says she is going to ‘retire’ it is apparent that Myra will continue to be a good citizen in our city, and she will carry on doing good for our community.  Thank you, Myra. 

 Joan Duke

As a volunteer in our community Joan Duke has committed many hours to a variety of causes for most of her life. Starting when she was only 15, she worked with disabled swimmers at the YMCA in Port Arthur and continues to this day.

Joan is a community-based volunteer who uses her knowledge and time to try to improve the social, economic and health situations of many people, especially seniors. The Seniors’ Diners Club of the Canadian Red Cross has benefitted from Joan’s involvement. This led her to working at the front desk and becoming a part of their Disaster Management Team. Her involvement with Age Friendly Thunder Bay saw her being elected to the Board of Directors where she is still an active member.

Her involvement in community Public Library systems has seen Joan serve for many years as the Chairperson of the Board. She was elected for several terms as the Northwestern Ontario Representative to Ontario Library Service North and other groups. Her most recent term of eight years with the Thunder Bay Board saw her elected as the Northwest Representative to the Ontario Library Association’s Public Library Board Committee where she served four years as Secretary.

Currently Joan’s volunteer commitments extend to many areas of the city. The Thunder Bay Regional Hospital sees her serving on the Research Institute and Ethics Committee and she is also active in the formation of the Thunder Bay and area Ontario Health Team.

She can be found working for charity bingos for the VON, delivering books for the Thunder Bay Friends of the Library, volunteering at shows and charity bingos for Magnus Theatre, and concerts for Consortium Aurora Borealis. Age Friendly Thunder Bay and the 55 Plus Board of Directors benefit from her serving as a member, and her involvement in many committees.

Joan states that ‘as a lifelong learner, I feel that with positive change I can help impact, adds health and purpose to my life, and for that I am most grateful.’ Joan loves to talk to people and feels privileged to hear their opinions and stories.

Our community is lucky to have such an individual as Joan offering her compassion and knowledge to our city and the surrounding areas. She deserves to be recognized for her years of valued service.

John Garland 

For John Garland ‘giving back’ was at the centre of his life and for many years he volunteered in a variety of roles with commitment and dedication. His love of running was something he wished others to experience, and his goal was to help people improve their health and well-being through an active lifestyle.

In his 10 years as member and 18 years as Chair and Race Director of the 10 Mile Road Race Committee the attendance grew to almost 1,000 participants and has become the premier running event of the region.

As Head Coach of the Lakehead Athletics and Masters Running Club he fully committed to his role for 12 months a year over 18 years. In later years he continued to perform this role with assistance from others, and his advice and wisdom was highly valued. John, among others, created the KStar Running Series.  A program for runners to challenge themselves by competing against the fastest times set worldwide, with the opportunity to be awarded a plaque at the year-end banquet.

John was instrumental in helping the sport of squash flourish within our community as an elite player, official, tournament organizer, coach, and instructor. He started the Squash League; and was the backbone of Thunder Bay’s squash culture.

Elected to the Board of the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame in 1995, he served on the Executive Committee from 2000-2021, holding every position, including Treasurer, Vice-President, Secretary and President.  Throughout these 26 years of service to this organization, he served as a member of various committees and helped with several events and fundraising activities.

At Confederation College John could be found providing instruction at the Fitness Centre and coaching the cross-country running team, while at the Canada Games Complex, he would provide fitness opportunities to people of all ages and abilities.

As a Board member of Kairos Community Resource Centre, John believed in the importance of providing services to youth and families through a rehabilitative rather than punitive lens, and that individuals are not only responsible for themselves but to the community at large.

John was an active member of the (formerly Elk’s) Big Band Klown Band for 24 years.  He performed and acted as a reliable sound man at the Children’s Christmas Shows and throughout the rest of the year the Band played and still does, at nursing homes and senior centres each Wednesday afternoon.

John, with his quiet and humble nature, and as a model of healthy living, has led untold numbers of citizens to find joy in activity and sport. He has made a lasting contribution on both an individual and community level and is thoroughly deserving of the Spirit of Thunder Bay Award.

Holly Haggarty

Holly Haggarty is a Thunder Bay Author and Artist Educator who has shared her creative skills since 1988 as a member of Chaban Ukrainian Dance Group among many other societies and groups in our community.

In her earlier years Holly showed her spirit of giving by instructing the Jackrabbits course and volunteering at events at Kamview and Lappe Cross Country Ski Centres, and spending time on various committees as part of the School Council at Ecole Gron Morgan.

She has donated time to her church community as a Marriage and Artist Educator in the Diocese of Thunder Bay, a Lector at St Patrick’s Church, and spent years as a mission team member at Nu-Vision Ministry, Canada.

Holly has been a guest lecturer on Arts in Education for various academic societies and lent her artistic skills to other areas such as a make-up artist at Lakehead Inter-Professional Student Society.

As a Chaban volunteer, Holly has collaborated with others on the writing of concert scripts, narrations, and programs.  She has donated her skill and expertise to proofreading and editing narrations and concert programs. Holly’s involvement has resulted in entertaining and educational concerts, contributing to the cultural diversity of Thunder Bay, inspiring audiences to better understand the art of Ukrainian dance and the Ukrainian heritage of our city.

As a Chaban volunteer Teaching Assistant, Holly brings her experience as an Artist Educator to rehearsals and is always eager to share her knowledge and skills providing dancer support to children and adult dancers alike.

In 2004, Holly co-wrote the script for the Chaban concert Rumpelstiltsky, humorously entwining this folktale into a Ukrainian concert, and taking on the lead role. Almost every year since then her expertise in script, acting, and stage development has been utilized and appreciated.

Holly’s resourcefulness and imagination have helped the group to stretch limited resources. The care that she takes in researching cultural details and historical facts has helped Chaban present the art of Ukrainian culture with pride.

Krysta Logozzo Daniele

After graduating with a Business Degree from Lakehead University in 2002 Krysta Logozzo Daniele focused her talents and skills into Leadership Thunder Bay, a one-year program focused on community issues for emerging leaders.  During this she worked with a team of fellow volunteers on various projects developing her project management, communications, and community leadership skills.

After finishing the program Krysta divided her time between volunteering with GenNext, a group aligned with United Way Thunder Bay that encourages volunteerism among future leaders and SHIFT Thunder Bay, a network for the young professional.

In 2012, enjoying professional success at St Joseph’s Care Group, Krysta was invited to join Port Arthur Rotary. In her first year she was selected to become a Paul Harris Fellow, an almost unprecedented feat for a new Rotarian and was selected as Club President in 2019/20.

During her term as President, she was faced with the impact of the pandemic but as many other clubs closed their doors, under Krysta’s leadership, Port Arthur Rotary migrated to virtual meetings.  She managed this with tact, understanding, and respect for all Rotary members, not all of whom were comfortable with new technology.

Krysta has encouraged the expansion and use of technology, enabling guest speakers, including Senators, former Premiers, authors, and Indigenous speakers to use the Zoom platform. Due in no small part to Krysta’s leadership, Port Arthur Rotary not only survived the pandemic but became stronger and more innovative than it was before.

Krysta is described as a smart, hardworking, and thoughtful professional volunteer, who shares her time, energy, and skills generously with all the Thunder Bay based organizations of which she has been a part. Everyone who has volunteered with her over her long career as a community leader has experienced examples of her leadership, innovation, and dedication. She has touched the lives of countless people in the community. 

Ann McGoey

In 1983 Ann McGoey, along with her four children: Eric, Maureen, Conor and Warren, began volunteering at Fort William Historical Park (Old Fort William as it was known then).  Together they assisted in educational programming, provided entertainment and customer service to locals as well as tourists from around the world.  During their time at Old Fort William, Ann and her family would sew in the Tailor’s Shop, bead, and decorate pouches to be traded during the Fort’s Rendezvous event, and assist in the Historic Trades Square including the Blacksmith Shop and Canoe Shed.

Visitors venturing to the farm would be able to find Ann with a smile on her face and ready to share her knowledge and skills. Ann’s children became very adept at role playing and loved interacting with visitors, especially other children. They were not fooled by questions regarding television or modern travel, and would unflinchingly remain in their historic persona.

Their contribution to the Living History Program enriched the experience of many visitors until 1991. 30 years later Ann has returned with her grandchildren who all have a passion for historical re-enactment. Showcasing the unique cultural history of our region through heritage food, traditional games, song, and dance. Ann’s grandchildren also interpret to visitors of various ages and nationalities, speaking French to francophone visitors.

Ann’s belief in building confidence and knowledge through active interpreting and skill sharing has been put into practice over many years and her commitment to Fort William Historical Park has encouraged and inspired the next generation of volunteers. She aims to show them that giving back to the community can be fun and educational, and she hopes to instill in her grandchildren the rewards of giving one's time and talent to others.

Ann and her family are an asset to the Volunteer Program at Fort William Historical Park and to the City of Thunder Bay.

Robyn McWatch

Over the past 15 years Robyn McWatch has been donating her time, energy, and compassion to our community by volunteering to support those served by the Children’s Aid Society of The District of Thunder Bay (TBCAS).

Starting as a Recreation Buddy, Robyn took siblings on weekly outings. Providing them with low-cost, engaging, healthy, age-appropriate community activities, and instilled the values of recreation pursuits as a benefit to child or youth.

Following this, Robyn moved into the role of Volunteer Driver, helping many children, youth, and families to and from important appointments, saving countless bus trips for those served over her many years in this role. Robyn states that she was ‘paid’ by feedback from the children and youth like ‘are you coming next week?’ and ‘I told my mom you were nice.’

Robyn’s favorite volunteer role at TBCAS is her baby cuddling position. The additional extensive training required did not discourage her from excitedly starting her mentoring shifts in this position. Robyn strictly follows the policies and guidelines governing the TBCAS volunteer cuddlers during her four-hours shifts, mainly at the NICU or Pediatric floors at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre.  She will often take more than one four-hour shift in a 24-hour period, happy to extend her love and compassion to the newborns and children and treats this position with the respect it deserves.

Throughout Robyn’s volunteer tenure with TBCAS she was also a palliative care giver to several close members of her family, while attending post-secondary schooling and raising her daughter Chyniel. The cycle of volunteering continues with Chyniel who gives her time to special events such as the Holiday Hamper Program, which Robyn considers her best legacy.

Robyn’s altruistic act of giving without expectation of remuneration is the definition of volunteerism, and she is truly a Citizen of Exceptional Achievement.

Sharon Otway

The Senior’s Income Tax Program, a free service offered to low-income seniors in our community, has benefitted from Sharon Otway donating her time since 2001.  Starting out at the Herb Carroll Centre, Sharon has grown with the program over the years, and she can be considered a ‘guru’ of income tax!

Sharon took on the role of Group Trainer, using her knowledge and expertise to help train any new volunteers joining the team, adapting the CRA training material to focus solely on seniors.  This ensured that the volunteer team was able to offer a level of service second-to-none to community members who depend on it.

The program is currently hosted solely from the Thunder Bay 55 Plus Centre and while Sharon has handed the training component on, she still offers her assistance with extra learning and is only a phone call away. She can also be found taking on two shifts per week during the eight-week Income Tax Clinic each spring. Sharon has been a person at the centre of the program’s growth and the fact that it remains an amazing community resource.

When the pandemic hit Sharon opted to share her time and talents with the Lakehead Social Planning Council Income Tax Program. In this way other low-income clients in the community benefit from her assisting with hundreds of returns yearly.

If anyone has a need for a beautiful purse, some unique jewelry, or an exquisite piece of pottery, the Hogarth Riverview Manor Gift Shop would probably be the place to visit.  You could find Sharon working in the store, and the beautiful merchandise for sale may well be a result of one of the buying trips that she also assists with.

Whether to enjoy an Easter High Tea or a pickerel dinner, the Riverside Café at the 55 Plus Centre is a popular destination for many. Sharon spent two years on the Food Program Board. All of this on top of volunteering as a Scout Leader when her son was younger, even once driving a group of boys to the East Coast for a Jamboree!

Sharon has epitomized, for many years, the true spirit of Thunder Bay.

Al Smith

Al Smith has been consistently dedicating his time and energy to volunteering in many capacities for over 30 years.

‘Freemasonry is the oldest and largest fraternal organization in the world. Its members share a common goal of helping each other become better men. Its body of knowledge and system of ethics is based on the belief that each man has a responsibility to improve himself while being devoted to his family, faith, country, and fraternity.’

Since 1984 Al has been the embodiment of the Masonic ideals, ensuring he is a member who makes calls and visits to any other members who are ill or distressed, offering compassion, and concern for their well-being.

Al also dedicates his time to being a Board Member of the Lakehead Shrine Club.  The Lakehead Shrine Club’s Mission is to provide free hospital care for children with orthopedic and neuromusculoskeletal conditions and injuries, burns, spinal cord injuries, cleft lip and palate, and other complex care needs at one of the many Shriner’s hospitals for children.

The fundraising necessary to achieve this goal will often find Al participating in several roles.  He can be found selling raffle tickets, calendars, Christmas cakes, cookies, and Vidalia onions to eager members of the public. He is also regularly involved in events such as the ‘Parade of Lights’ and the ‘Santa Claus Parade’, driving the mini-cars, creating smiles on faces of both children and adults alike.

As a member and volunteer of the 55 Plus Centre since 1996, Al sits on the Board of Directors for the Fix-It Shop and can also be found working in the kitchen, washing dishes, and generally contributing to the success of the Centre.

Since he was a young man Al has been attending the Lakeview Presbyterian Church and despite his busy volunteer schedule, he continues to be an active member to this day.

As a valuable contributor to the community for over 30 years, Al truly believes in giving back. 

 June Wozny

The Telephone Assurance Program is a valuable service provided by the 55 Plus Centre that enables volunteers to place phone calls to vulnerable seniors to check in on their health and safety.  This can be an essential part of assisting them in keeping an independent lifestyle by reducing isolation and loneliness through friendship and socialization.

June Wozny has been a part of this service for over 20 years of volunteerism. Over the years she has taken one day out of her week to touch base with many older clients, developing friendships and providing companionship to many isolated adults in our community.

When the average number of clients is one per volunteer, June has been known to be in contact with up to eight clients at any one time. When June herself was not in good health she still ensured that her clients were called, demonstrating her commitment to this position.

Many residents of Dawson Court have been the recipients of June’s time when she volunteered as a friendly visitor. Every Wednesday June visits Hogarth Riverview Manor Long-term Care Home and can spend time with up to three people on each occasion.

June’s commitment to volunteering does not end there.  June can often be found lending her time to the Magnus Theatre, the Cambrian Players, helping with charity bingos, assisting at various legion functions, making Canada Day special for everyone, and helping with the children's programs at Redwood School.  Any spare time that she may have is spent creatively, working in her vegetable and flower gardens, sewing, baking, and enjoying various crafts.

June is described as an ‘angel’ and her kindness over the years has been so valuable to many older adults in our community. Joan is a truly worthy recipient of the Spirit of Thunder Bay Award. 

2023 Youth

Arshea Amer

From a young age in Pakistan, Arshea Amer has demonstrated selflessness and her passion for helping others.  As a volunteer dental assistant helping provide free treatment to the less fortunate, and a co-conductor for laughter therapy sessions at a correctional facility, Arshea’s kindness has always been apparent.

When Arshea moved to Thunder Bay she began a volunteer role with Teen Challenge, helping collect donations, enabling the charity to continue with their valuable work, providing rehabilitation opportunities to those struggling with addictions.

Since January 2020 and throughout the ups and downs of the pandemic, Arshea has volunteered with the Wayfinding service at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (TBRHSC).  In this role she supports a positive patient experience and helps create a welcoming first impression of the hospital to all patients, visitors, and staff, as she greets and provides directions. If required Arshea will personally escort patients and visitors to their destination, call them a taxi, and deliver parcels brought in for patients to the nursing stations.

Over the last three years Arshea has shown tremendous leadership skills by joining the TBRHSC Volunteer Advisory Council and taking on the responsibility of being a Service Leader for the Wayfinding role. She shared a story reminding people that those whom we may want to help the least may be most in need of compassion and that kindness can go a long way.

Arshea is described as an extremely funny, mature, respectful, dedicated volunteer advocate making a positive difference in our community.  She consistently demonstrates kindness and empathy, and her commitment to volunteering and training other volunteers, whilst balancing her busy university schedule, has not gone unnoticed.

Arshea is a great role model, not only to our youth, but to all volunteers who want to make a positive impact in our community.

Kaylee Armour 

The City of Thunder Bay’s Recreation and Culture Department has benefitted from Kaylee volunteering her time for just over two years, most recently with the Chippewa Summer Camps Program, contributing over 170 hours.  As a high school student Kaylee was only required to complete 40 hours of volunteering but after her first summer in 2021, she was determined to attend the summer of 2022!

When working with both campers and leaders at Chippewa, Kaylee is described as going above and beyond to provide a welcoming and positive space for all campers.  Without having to be asked Kaylee will consistently be the first one to step up to assist or lead an activity, always being inclusive and interacting with all campers in a respectful manner. Kaylee can consistently be relied upon to find engaging and fun ways to interact with the children, and will always gently encourage any who are hesitant to join in.

The staff at Chippewa appreciate Kaylee’s dependability and willingness to help which leaves them in no doubt of her commitment. She communicates well with staff, volunteers, and campers alike, ensuring no potential problems ever escalate.

Without enthusiastic and thoughtful volunteers like Kaylee the campers at Chippewa would not enjoy the kind of service that they deserve, she is thoroughly deserving of this Youth Award.  Well done, Kaylee!

Gurleen Bhullar 

Having emigrated from India as a child, Gurleen Bhullar has enjoyed volunteering, in part as a way of getting to meet and know the people of Thunder Bay, and to learn about life in Canada. As a student at St. Ignatius High School, she has currently reported a total of 431 community volunteer hours despite having spent grades 9-11 learning virtually due to the pandemic.

The mission of the Thunder Bay Multicultural Association is to ‘work toward a society in which all people from diverse ethno-cultural backgrounds can participate fully in Canadian life, working together with respect, fairness, and acceptance. To develop community capacity, programs, and services to attract and retain immigrants.’ Gurleen has contributed many hours of her time to help make this mission a reality, organizing an event to help the children of refugee families new to Thunder Bay, to meet other children and to help learn English. She has also, through this same organization, helped at a refugee family event, assisting new families meet others and build supportive connections.

In participating as part of Patty Hajdu’s Youth Council, Gurleen has brought a youth perspective on challenges facing our community to our Member of Parliament and has been involved with coordinating specific events during meetings.

Gurleen’s commitment to helping others can be seen with her participation in groups such as the Thunder Bay Sikh Society, Shelter House, United Way, and the Urban Abbey. In her school community at St. Ignatius, Gurleen is involved in both the Common Bonds Social Justice Club and with the BPOC (Black and People of Colour) student groups.

Her openness about her own culture, and her interest in learning about the cultures of others, is demonstrated in her participation in organizing events and through her sharing and listening to the stories of others. Those new to Canada and those who may be finding it difficult to take care of their basic needs have found assistance through Gurleen’s commitment to helping others through service and support, and she is thoroughly deserving of this award. 

Ryan Cebrario-Santorelli 

In the summer of 2020, 10-year-old Ryan Santorelli walked into Community Spokes to fix his mountain bike and two years later he is a highly valued and integral member of this social business.

Community Spokes is for people who use or need a bicycle, providing second-hand bikes and parts, as well as the knowledge to maintain and repair them. Their retail storefront in downtown Fort William allows members of the community to use their tools and work on their bikes free of charge. In addition, they offer bike sales, rentals, a build your own bike program, skills-based workshops, recreation therapy programming, and volunteer opportunities.

When Ryan first spent time at Community Spokes it was clear that he enjoyed working on bicycles so, with the help of his family, a weekly volunteer schedule was set up for him.  Starting with simple tasks such as patching tubes, Ryan quickly acquired more advanced skills, and did not shy away from asking questions to staff and volunteers.

Ryan’s contributions to Community Spokes go beyond attending volunteer shifts and completing tasks, his intentions and positive energy stand out among the bike shop community.  His presence when absent is missed for its excitement, enthusiasm, and good company. His mannerisms and approach to teaching are both welcoming and friendly which creates a casual and calm environment in which people can learn and practice skills.

Ryan’s no-hesitation approach to helping new people integrate into the shop, showing them the location of tools, methods of repairing their bikes, or even which used bikes are most appropriate to purchase, demonstrate his helpful attitude and enjoyment of being a part of something important to him.

His young age, neurodivergence and many challenges he has faced throughout his life have not hampered his initiative, determination, and strength of character that is evident in his participation in this community initiative.

Community Spokes enriches the life of many residents in Thunder Bay. Ryan’s role and contribution is integral as a valued member amongst the staff, volunteers and patrons and everyone involved is excited to watch him grow and thrive. 

Andrei Rosario 

As an active member of the community, Andrei Rosario has touched our city in various capacities.

As a cadet in the Canadian Cadet Organizations, Andrei took on many leadership roles and was eventually appointed with the highest leadership appointment, Cadet Regimental Sergeant Major. Over his four years of service, he taught over 50 youths a variety of topics including leadership, music, sports (biathlon and marksmanship), and wilderness survival. Taking his experience of music gained from the Cadet Program to high school, Andrei volunteered as a Music Instructor in St. Patrick’s Reach Ahead Program from 2016-2018.

Since graduating high school and retiring from the Cadet Program, Andrei has continued his passion for community development through volunteering. He spent time as a Community Support Worker at the Urban Abbey’s Emergency Shelter in 2021 and as a Research Assistant at the Students’ Commission of Canada, helping with research and advocacy initiatives for empowering youth voices.

Andrei was the founder of the Confederation College Business Club, where he currently sits as President, and he is the leading force behind the club’s events and activities. Throughout his time in this non-profit club, he has supported the professional development of over 20 students, assisting in clothing individuals experiencing homelessness, and raised thousands of dollars to support poverty alleviation initiatives in Thunder Bay.

Since May 2022 Andrei has served as a Director of Social Events in Confederation College’s Student Association’s Board of Directors, supporting over 20 events and activities while representing the student body through advocacy.  Andrei also sits as Board Member of Elevate NWO and Director of Marketing in Free Your Mind, a youth-led nonprofit organization focused on promoting mental wellness in youth.

His volunteerism doesn’t end there, with his becoming an Income Tax Preparer under the Canada Revenue Agency’s Community Volunteer Income Tax Program. In this role he has promoted economic development whilst supporting low-income individuals and families, helping to bring back over $25,000 to the community.

Andrei’s dedication as a leader is proven by the amount of work that he has committed himself to throughout all his volunteer roles. Through his initiatives in community development and leadership, he has helped boost and increase the profile of youth in Thunder Bay, and his selfless contributions have had positive impacts on a great number of people in our community.

Being able to focus on his post-secondary studies, working three jobs and taking on many volunteering initiatives shows Andrei’s immense drive and passion.  His continuous hard work in various industries as a community developer, leader, and an advocate for many deserves recognition and commendation. Andrei is an inspiration to our community and future generations of youth.

Sara Sacchetti 

As a student at St. Patrick High School, Sara Sacchetti has demonstrated her commitment to helping others since 2021. Many St. Pat’s students have been assisted and inspired by Sara as she has volunteered her time to tutoring younger students in a range of subjects including English, Science, French and Math.

On top of assisting other students, Sara has a passion for helping the vulnerable in our community and beyond.  The Golden Ticket Challenge was an idea that Sara approached her teachers with in the spring of 2022. It was an idea for a fundraiser for the Sick Kids Foundation which was a charity dear to her heart.

The ‘Charlie and Chocolate Factory’ inspired challenge involved selling 5,000 bars of chocolate, 36 of which had a golden ticket for a prize.  Sarah worked hard over the summer to source sponsors, prizes and organized a media campaign which led to the event being a complete success. In all $11,000 was donated to SickKids Toronto through the sale of chocolate bars, sponsorship, and donations from the community, all of which would not have been possible without Sara’s organization and management.

Caring Cards is another initiative that Sara created involving the making of beautiful Christmas cards for seniors in long-term care. The cards were made by students who could also record their work as a contribution towards their voluntary hours. This was a fun way to give back and the long-term care residents were overjoyed to receive creative, home-made greetings cards.

Sara’s sense of initiative to help wherever it was needed the most, and her assistance with a range of worthwhile causes is very impressive, and her support and dedication has touched the lives of many. 

Viktoriya Dyukaryeva 

Viktoriya Dyukaryeva has been involved with Chaban Ukrainian Dance Group, primarily as a dancer, since she moved to Canada from Ukraine in 2014.

Viktoriya started teaching at Chaban 6 months before the pandemic began and when classes had to move online, her enthusiasm and commitment did not waver.  Her classes continued via Zoom with her pet dogs and cats entertaining the children taking part. Her organization and improvisation skills came to the forefront which made class time just as productive online as in-person.

Now that classes are back in-person Viktoriya’s energy and enthusiasm has only continued to improve the children’s self-confidence and self-esteem, their physical flexibility and fitness, and their ability to develop relationships.

Since 2021 Viktoriya has held Head Instructor positions for Parent & Me and Sonechko (ages 4-5). Viktoriya continues with her commitment to Chaban despite attending university full time and working. She currently dances at the Ensemble level, instructing a group of small children and assisting with teens and pre-teens.  With four of her dancers having Ukrainian as a first language, Viktoriya can converse fluently with them, also helping to familiarize English speakers with the language.

Viktoriya is an enthusiastic learner, eager to teach her new skills to others and inspiring young dancers to want to learn, promote and share Ukrainian heritage through dance.  In addition to assisting in the development of the children, their performances provide great joy and amazement. This year the children she teaches will be performing at Chaban’s concert in May and at the Thunder Bay Folklore Festival.

The emotional strength and self-confidence that it takes to be teaching your peers, along with the physical stamina and organization skills that Viktoriya demonstrates in her volunteer role makes her more than deserving of this award. 

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 awards please contact Lori Wiitala, Committee Clerk and Legislative Specialist at 625-2971 or by email

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