They worked with the challenged, the hungry and the hurting, and they excelled in a studio, stage or sports field.
But one thing connects the 20 groups and individuals named by Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley to his 2019 Honour List – they are living proof that people can make a difference.
The list is highly personal, Bradley said, and based his own observations, citizen nominations and media stories.
The honourees are:
CLARA AND FRED BERG
Now in their 90s, the Bergs have volunteered each week for more than 25 years at the Sarnia Mission Thrift Store, interacting with customers, sorting donations and mopping floors. They helped found the store, the first of its kind in Ontario.
BRIGHT’S GROVE MUSIC FEST (TREVOR GORSKI, CHRIS JEFFREY, MARCUS POSTIL, JAMES SNIDER)
The festival began three years ago as a way for younger residents to hear live bands normally seen at age-restricted venues. All proceeds support charity, with $7,200 raised at last year’s 10-hour event in Kenwick Park.
A volunteer for many causes, Cebulski was an original member of The Sunshine Foundation of Canada’s local chapter. She was president three times, and travelled Canada promoting new chapters with the national board.
A four-time president of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 62, Chafe supports Sarnia veterans though the Legion’s candlelight Remembrance Service and its financial assistance, banner and Catch the Ace programs.
An exercise physiologist, Davies is helping improve the balance and strength of people with Parkinson’s disease through a non-contact, boxing-inspirited fitness program called Rock Steady Boxing.
A mentor and role model who officiated at three Pan American and three Commonwealth Games, Dawson was inducted into the Wrestling Canada Hall of Fame last month.
FRIENDS OF SARNIA HOCKEY
This volunteer group has overseen the 50/50 draws at Sarnia Sting games for more than 20 years, raising $1 million plus for SMAA, Sarnia Lady Sting, Sarnia Sledge and other youth hockey organizations.
A two-time youth award winner last year, Harding implemented life skills program for special needs students while volunteering at Community Living, Pathways and the Special Olympics.
A journalist at Sarnia This Week, Hnatyshyn was recognized for perfecting the art of listening and giving voice to the community with humour, irony and wit.
A co-founder and leader of the Lambton Seniors Association, Houston also worked tirelessly as a driving force behind the Family Rapids Health Team and North Lambton Health Unit.
After discovering a shortage of activities for people with special needs, Manchester turned Special Olympics Sarnia into a volunteer-driven powerhouse that within three years had 80 volunteers offering nine sports to 125 athletes.
Milos is the founder of Lambton College’s entrepreneurial Enactus Team, which has won 13 national and one world championship while helping to lift hundreds of thousands of Africans out of poverty.
A firefighter, Mitchell promotes Sarnia through his famous Sarnia Fire and Rescue dogs, Lucky and Clover, and by displaying at car shows an aerial ladder truck he saved from the scrapyard.
While attending university, Moir became a passionate leader on the climate change front, organizing speakers and forming the Sarnia Sustainability Ambassadors.
Montgomery brought the effective anti-poverty Circles Program to Sarnia-Lambton. Though the first in Canada, the program has since expanded to 10 Canadian communities.
Actor and playwright Murray continues to succeed in Canadian theatre, most recently putting his own spin on The Wizard of Oz at Toronto’s Elgin Theatre.
SEAWAY KIWANIS CLUB OF SARNIA LAMBTON
Now its 61st year, this dedicated club has made innumerable contributions to the community through financial aid to groups and charities, youth scholarships, and its ongoing building projects and programs in Canatara Park.
The Sarnia-born, Corunna-raised Thomson was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame last year after winning five World Series rings with the New York Yankees. He’s now a coach with the Philadelphia Phillies.
For more than 30 years, Travis worked at YourTV (formerly COGECO TV6) patiently teaching camera, program and graphic skills to a mostly young volunteer team.
GARY AND TAMMY VANDENHEUVEL
The Vandenheuvels used their own money, government grants and community fundraising to convert a former day-care centre into Ohana Landing, a transitional and supportive housing project for young people.