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Leo Finnegan receives distinguished service award named in his honour

Barbara McConnell, chairperson of the PECMH Foundation, presents The Leo Finnegan Distinguished Service Award to Leo Finnegan.

In honour of tireless and continuous support of Prince Edward County’s hospital, Leo Finnegan was named the first recipient of an award created in his honour – the Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital Foundation’s Leo Finnegan Distinguished Service Award.

The foundation made the surprise presentation Thursday before an audience of close friends, family and foundation members at the Regent Theatre.

Finnegan, 88, who served two terms as the County’s mayor, was feted for long-serving commitment and influential leadership in support of the hospital.

“I’m thrilled and excited and very thankful,” said Finnegan. “That feeling is also accompanied by a sense of humility when I remember colleagues and coworkers in various organizations that I have been associated with in the past who would be worthy of receiving such a tribute. I accept this award remembering their contributions to the betterment of our hospital and community.”

Finnegan has been volunteering and fundraising for the County’s hospital for more than 20 years, including 11 years with the foundation.

Barbara McConnell, chairperson of the PECMHF Foundation, told the audience it is fitting Finnegan was honoured with the award and that it be named in his honour.

“He has truly made lasting contributions to QHC PECMH and has helped to shape the future of health care delivery in Prince Edward County in ways that will continue to be felt for decades to come.”

Shannon Coull, executive director of the PECMH Foundation.

Shannon Coull, executive director of the PECMH Foundation, said Finnegan remains staunchly committed to the hospital foundation’s mission and mandate to raise funds needed to purchase of priority medical equipment to improve patient care.

“He has worked tirelessly to keep the County hospital top of mind in the PEC community.”

Dr. Andrew Janikowski

Dr. Andrew Janikowski noted his path since 1979 has crossed with Finnegan in many ways, including at the hospital, and at the Rotary Club – and in both arenas he said he noticed Finnegan’s passion, “especially when there was a real possibility that we would not have a hospital in Prince Edward County.”

Finnegan, one of the drivers of the POOCH (Patrons of Our County Hospital) movement, helped get 10,000 petition signatures and two bus loads of citizens to rally at Queen’s Park in April 2013.

“All of a sudden they realized that you don’t mess around with a small hospital that has a passionate following,” said Janikowski. “What we have, what we are going to have, to a large extent is because of this man.”

MPP Todd Smith remembers the rally well and was proud to present the petition at Queen’s Park. In a recorded message, Smith called Finnegan an incredible advocate for Prince Edward County and a true champion for Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital.

“It’s because of that great work that we’re continuing to move forward and we’ll see that a new hospital campus is built there right behind the old hospital that has served our community so well for all these years, just as you have, my friend.”

Stacey Daub, QHC CAO

Stacey Daub said Finnegan was one of the first people she met as the corporation’s new CEO and noted he had given her the “gift of connection to many residents with loved ones in the community so I could have a conversation about their hospital… and I so grateful to have you in the community – not only for the fact that you have helped us create this beautiful hospital going to provision in the next number of years, but very thankful to be able to be a part of this community today.”

Lyle Vanclief, former MP and current president of the John M. and Bernice Parrott Foundation, also thanked Finnegan for his leadership, noting the County “has become a better place because of what you have done for the community.”

Mayor Steve Ferguson and former mayor Robert Quaiff present former mayor Leo Finnegan with replica of the sign for Finnegan Drive, named in his honour.

Mayor Steve Ferguson and former Mayor Robert Quaiff both honoured Finnegan’s dedication to the hospital and, taking the opportunity of all being together in the same room, at the same time, presented him with a replica of the ‘Finnegan Drive’ sign for the road to the Wellings in Picton that was named in his honour.

“We continue to have a vibrant and thriving hospital in the County,” said Ferguson. “The fact that we will have a new hospital in a few years is due largely to the advocacy of Leo… and as mayor he set a very high bar for the mayors who followed him.”

Maureen Finnegan, wife of Leo, and their family members watch the honours from the front row at the theatre.

The Finnegan family poses for a photograph with Leo and Maureen at the conclusion of the event.

Nancy Parks, Back the Build Campaign Co-chairperson, presents Finnegan with a ‘Care Champion’ caricature in honour of his dedication to the hospital.

“It’s been a good afternoon, everyone. What a super day,” said Finnegan, as he thanked the guests and his family members for attending.

The Leo Finnegan Distinguished Service Award is to be presented to a volunteer who has exhibited exceptional commitment and service to the Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital, selected by the PECMHF Board of Directors.

Any volunteer, hospital staff, board or committee member, member of the community or third-party event organizer may be nominated by anyone within the hospital community.

The award will not be automatically given each year, only in years when there is an exceptional person who fits the criteria.

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  1. Congratulations Cousin. Happy to hear of your recognition for all the work you have done for your community.

  2. Thank you Leo, Very much appreciated. Thank you for this excellent article.

  3. Peter Jaehrling says:

    Not only well done I would say very well done Leo! Congratulations

  4. David Fox says:

    Well deserved, Leo! Thank you for standing strong for the local hospital!

  5. Marnie Smith says:

    Congratulations Leo! This recognition is well deserved and your work and passion for our community is much appreciated.

  6. Erin Walker says:

    On behalf of the Finnegan family, I would like to thank the Foundation for putting on such an amazing event. Shannon, Briar and the rest of the staff and the Regent Theatre volunteers deserve so much thanks. It is rare that a person gets to hear such wonderful accolades as we often wait until people pass away before we talk about their contributions. My father had an afternoon of praise, thanks and well-wishes that will remain with him for the rest of his life. Thanks to all who contributed to such a wonderful community event.

  7. Stephanie Regent says:

    Very proud of my Uncle and all the work he has done. Caring for those in our communities is a family value and he certainly has displayed that for many years.

  8. Steve Blakely says:

    Congratulations Leo. There could not be a more deserving individual to be recognized for their unwavering support of the community and local hospital than you. Your commitment in supporting the importance of maintaining our hospital and “backing the build” of a new hospital has clearly had a very positive impact on the outcome – very well done. Your contribution to the County on many fronts is truly remarkable.

  9. Dennis Fox says:

    Well done Leo! You certainly have worked hard for this community and this recognition is much deserved! THANK YOU!

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