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Volunteer Recognition Awards honour outstanding County residents

The fourth annual Prince Edward County Volunteer Recognition Awards winners Loyalist Humane Society PEC represented by Gail Robinson; Janet Marissen with Tetris and Marianne Malachowski, with (far right) Rachel Henry, The Wellings general manager.

Story and photos by Sharon Harrison

Gail Robinson (representing Loyalist Humane Society PEC), Marianne Malachowski and Janet Marissen.

Three women received volunteer recognition awards Wednesday and each honoured the groups and people who surround them.

The Wellings of Picton highlighted National Volunteer Week hosting its fourth annual Prince Edward County Volunteer Recognition Awards.

“We see volunteerism at its very best every day. Our communities see volunteers daily who enrich the lives of our residents, and we see the residents themselves continue to contribute through volunteerism,” said Rachel Henry, Wellings general manager. “The County would not exist but not for the tireless hours our volunteers put forward.”

Earlier this year, the Wellings put out a call for the community at large to nominate an individual or group they thought stood out in the volunteer world.

“We received 10 outstanding nominations this year,” for the Wellings County Community Leadership Award, the Wellings Lifelong Achievement Award and the Wellings Caring Group or Duo Award.

Natalie Tommy, co-chair of the event with Henry, was pleased to the community come together to celebrate exceptional nominees, and also call attention to volunteers in our communities.

Prince Edward County Mayor Steve Ferguson echoed her sentiments.

“What you contribute on a day-to-day basis is just extraordinary,” he said, speaking to the many volunteers and volunteer organizations within the County and the great work they do.

Janet Marissen received the Wellings County Community Leadership Award

Janet Marissen received the Wellings County Community Leadership Award recognizes an individual who, drawing upon unique leadership skills, has shown exemplary guidance in a volunteer role, led volunteer groups, or have taken a lead role in finding solutions to local challenges.

There were five nominations in this category: Colleen Galway, Sandra Latchford, Gail Robinson, Janet Marissen and Deborah Troop.

“Volunteers never do anything by themselves,” said Marissen. “It’s always the people that are there to support us, so this award is really for everybody,” she said.

Marissen has belonged to Lions International since 1995 and has served in several positions with the Wellington District Lions Club. She is currently Ontario director of the Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides. Nine-month-old Tetris, who accompanied Marissen at the awards ceremony, is the 18th dog guide puppy she and husband Harry have fostered.

“It is overwhelming,” said Marissen on receiving the award. “Everybody here deserves an award and to single out one person is hard, so I share it with everybody because it’s an incredible honour.”

Marissen has been with the Wellington Lions since 2001 and says Lions is just part of her, and husband Harry’s, life.

Marianne Malachowski was awarded the Wellings Lifelong Achievement Award

Marianne Malachowski was awarded the Wellings Lifelong Achievement Award, and received a standing ovation when she was called to the podium.

The Wellings Lifelong Achievement Award is given to an outstanding individual who has tirelessly dedicated their life to volunteering, inspired other volunteers and made a significant impact on the community through their exceptional achievements through volunteering.

Anne Kuipers and Barbara Closson were also nominated.

“It’s a great honour. It really is an honour,” said Malachowski, who said the award means a lot to her. “It’s very important to honour each other,” she said referring to the annual event.

Malachowski is a life-long volunteer contributing in various roles to Hospice Prince Edward, Emmanuel Baptist Church, Prince Edward County Museums, the Historical Society and Archives, Macaulay House and Heritage Gardens, Master Gardeners, the PEC Horticultural Society, the Green Trust, the PEC Memorial Hospital Auxiliary volunteers, The Regent Theatre, the PEC Festival of Trees, and the Morning Star Day Camp.

“It’s a milestone in my life. It’s a milestone because you are working with people in the community to be part of the community,” said Malachowski. “It’s important because that’s how we belong; that’s how it gets to be a good community. One person can’t do it; this whole room is people that did volunteering and everybody’s of like mind and we need each other to get things done,” she said.

“It’s part of your fabric, and it is the goodness in the community when you do things at the different committees. It enriches everybody,” she said. “At 83, I’m the oldest one here [of the recipients],” she laughed, saying she will be 84 in June.

The Wellings Caring Group or Duo Award went to the Loyalist Humane Society PEC, and was accepted by Gail Robinson.

The final award, the Wellings Caring Group or Duo Award, a new award for 2019, recognizes volunteers who continually show outstanding compassion in their role and have inspired others to do the same. It highlights a collective effort by a group (two or more contributing members) who have come together to make a difference in our community.

There were two nominations in this category, The Regent Theatre Foundation Board Sponsorship Committee, and the Loyalist Humane Society PEC.

The Regent Theatre Foundation Board Sponsorship Committee comprises Helen Fearman, Borys Holowacz, Marilyn Kennedy, Dewey Larratt-Smith, Rob Legge, Pauline Morissette, Helen Morris, Bob Muir, Gord Parsons Ursula Solecki, Mary Tucker and Carolynn Whiteley.

The Loyalist Humane Society PEC group comprises 42 members: Beverly Arbuthnot, Kathy Baker, Doreen Britton, Nancy Crawford, Sierra and Glenn Dryden, Elizabeth Fahringer, Angela Finlay, Janine Fox, Barbara Flieler, Dorothy Fraleigh, Paula Furniss, Jacqueline Hamilton, Dee Hazel, Gail Henderson, Monica Joyce, Paula Kamminga, Joan Leckman, Clinton Loyst, Lorna MacDonald, Trisha Matthews and Collin Sills, Carol McCullough, Kim McDougall, Sue McKinney, Janet O’Brien, Vanessa Pandos, Sylvia and Gary Ollsen, Gilles Robert, Wanda Lou Quirk, Lynn Watson, Nancy Ryan, Ingrid Pierson, John Pepper, Fran Renoy, Darlene Johnston, Lorain Sine, Anne Moffat, Bessie Villeneuve, Dolores Wallace, Lynn Webber, Robert Whittleton and Becky Williams.

The Wellings Caring Group or Duo Award went to the Loyalist Humane Society PEC, and was accepted by Gail Robinson.

“We have been around a long time in the County and we just keep on doing what we are doing, said Robinson.

The Loyalist Humane Society PEC has been around since 1999. It is a no-kill shelter and everyone who works at the shelter is a volunteer. They currently house 340 animals, mostly cats, but they have been known to accommodate dogs, horses, pot-bellied pigs and turtles, and no creature is turned away.

“Let’s celebrate each and every one of you in this room who have taken the time to volunteer to make the County a better place,” said Henry.

Each winner received a $1,000 donation from the Wellings of Picton to present to the organization of their choice.

The three judges for this year’s awards were last year’s winners Evelyn Sloane, Doug Sloane and Linda Downey.

Though there were no nominations received this year in the Exceptional Youth Award category, Brenda Snider, executive director, Volunteer and Information Quinte spoke to the importance of engaging youth.

“Statistics Canada stated in 2013, approximately 12.7 million volunteers contributed 1.96 billion volunteer hours, which is equivalent to one million full-time jobs,” said Snider. “In 2013, the report recorded that 44 per cent of our Canadians over the age of 15 volunteer on average 154 hours per year.
“Approximately 44 per cent of Ontarians volunteer each year, and they average 166 hours per year, with the top four sectors that benefit are social services, sports and recreation, education and research, and religious organizations.”

“This is my favourite time of year to be able to come out and celebrate with the volunteers and to be able to thank you for everything that you do for every community. It makes a place that we want to work, live and play and be strong,” said Snider.

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