WATCH: Video of the awards presentation
On Monday, June 10 we recognized the people, businesses and community groups who go above and beyond to make a difference in our community. Here’s a list of the nominees and winners.
The Roger Griffiths Memorial Citizen of the Year: Awarded to an individual who best exemplifies community involvement and participation.
- Tanya Hein (award recipient). For fourteen years, Tanya has been a leader with the Stittsville Village Association, taking the lead on organizing both the Parade of Lights and Canada Day. She is a regular volunteer with the Goulbourn Museum as a member of the board of directors, as well as a volunteer with her Neighbourhood Watch. She is a parent representative at A. Lorne Cassidy, and a volunteer with the Stocking Project and recently with the Crabapple Blossom Festival. Tanya has also spent significant time volunteering as a Big Sister and quilting for Victoria’s quilts.
- Michelle Carroll. Michelle has been a volunteer in Stittsville for 22 years. She volunteered regularly at her children’s school, was a Sparks and Brownies leader, as well as a volunteer with the Kanata Ballet School and New Star Children’s Theatre Group. Aside from volunteering for these organizations, Michelle enjoys volunteering with the Heart and Stroke Foundation and Toy Mountain. She has spent time helping at Granite Ridge Long Term Care and Holy Spirit Church, even attending staff meetings at Holy Spirit. Most recently, Michelle lent a helping hand to the Ottawa flood relief efforts.
- Barry Gray. Barry is a retired photo journalist and editor residing in Stittsville. He is known for his talent for photography as well as his volunteer presence in the community. Barry has acted as a team manager with the Stittsville Minor Hockey Association and helped maintain the outdoor skating rink in his own neighbourhood. He has also volunteered his time to many other organizations, including CHEO and the Ottawa Dog Rescue. He is an active Board member of the Stittsville Village Association, as well as a Judge for the National Newspaper Awards. When Barry has free time, he enjoys volunteering at the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store on Iber Road.
- Alexia Jimenez. Alexia has been heavily involved in the Stittsville community for many years. She is the founder of the Chuckle Club at Stittsville’s Community Bible Church, which is a group for mothers and their young children to meet others and get out of the house. She is also the organizer of the Saturday Morning Bike Days for Ladies which take place on the Trans Canada Trail. Furthermore, Alexia has organized Quiz for a Cause Night alongside her husband, she serves lunch at Frederick Banting Alternative School, and volunteers for the Matthew House, all while also obtaining a master’s degree in Counselling, Psychotherapy, and Spirituality.
- Dave Lee. Over the years, Dave has volunteered as a coach and Referee-in-Chief with the Goulbourn Basketball Association, acting as a positive role model for all the children he has coached. This year, Dave organized a 3-on-3 basketball tournament to raise money for a Stittsville resident who needed funding for medical expenses. He continues to volunteer regularly and is often joined by his family. Dave plays bass in the popular local band, The Burning Halos.
- Theresa Qadri. Theresa has been a member of the board of directors for the Stittsville Village Association. She has volunteered with the Stittsville Lions Club, the Stittsville Rotary Club, and the Stittsville Food Bank as the Chair. With the Rotary Club, she organized Trivia Night and helped fundraise the Rotary Peace Park. Theresa was the lead organizer of a Women’s Recognition Event in the community and is still a strong advocate for women’s rights. In the 2018 provincial election, Theresa ran as the Liberal candidate in Stittsville, becoming the first Stittsville resident to represent a party in her own riding in many years.
Senior of the Year: Awarded in recognition of a senior citizen who has made a significant and long-standing contribution to our community.
- Barry Gray (award recipient). In addition to his nomination for the Roger Griffiths Award, Barry is also nominated in this category. Barry can often be seen with his camera capturing the people, places and moments that are important to our community.
- Eldon Fox. Eldon has been involved with the Kiwanis Club in the community for many years. During his time as president, he started “Kiwanis Idol”, which later changed to “Ottawa Idol”, an annual event created to help youth get into the music business. This popular event has featured many Stittsville musicians, some who have gone on to careers in With Eldon’s determination, these young adults have received a solid foundation to pursue their artistic dreams.
Business of the Year: Awarded to a local business that goes above and beyond in order to support the community and make it a better place in which to live.
- The Sweet Room Bakery Boutique (award recipient) – As an Ottawa-Carleton Lifeskills partner, The Sweet Room has had a major impact on the community. The bakery sells impact cards, which are handcrafted greeting cards created by participants of the Ottawa-Carleton Lifeskills program. Owner Renee Saunders takes the time to greet and catch up with participants of the Lifeskills program when they come by the Sweet Room to drop off new impact cards and collect funds, as well as introduce them to her customers. By selling impact cards and taking the time to interact with the participants, she is successful in promoting inclusion and awareness of developmental disabilities in the community.
- Kanata-Stittsville Community Voice– This relatively young newspaper has played a big part in maintaining the presence of print newspapers in the Kanata-Stittsville area. After Metroland ceased publication of the Stittsville News, Kanata-Stittsville Community Voice launched their own community newspaper. Led by Michael Wollock, and under the leadership of editor Patrick Uggucioni, the Kanata-Stittsville Community Voice continues to grow and serve those who prefer their news in print.
- Pointe of Grace Dance Company–Over the past six years, this organization has dedicated their spring competitive showcase to support charities. For many of those years, they donated funds to Tysen’s Mission to a Million, a charity led by a Stittsville’s Tysen Lefebvre in support of the Make-a-Wish Foundation. This year, their spring competitive showcase was entitled “Dance for Diabetes” and was dedicated to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. By supporting this cause, Pointe of Grace has been successful in spreading awareness for Type 1 Diabetes throughout the community.
Volunteer Group of the Year: Awarded to a group of citizens who are actively working together in order to make a difference in the Stittsville community.
- Families First Community Cancer Support (award recipient)– Created by Fringewood residents and their friends, this group originated from a washer tournament held in Fringewood since 2010. In 2012, a regular participant in the tournament, Dave Markell, lost his battle with cancer. That year, they decided to dedicate the tournament to him, and it soon evolved into Families First. This volunteer group raises money to provide financial support to families directly affected by a cancer diagnosis in the community. Currently, the money from the washer tournament is used to provide affected families with money for things like groceries and gas, but Families First hopes to expand and help families in other ways, such as with covering the cost of cancer medications.
- The Bell Warriors Football Clubhas been a part of the community for many years. This club offers touch and tackle football at affordable prices for members of the Stittsville-Kanata community. They promote inclusivity by offering football to both boys and girls, no matter their body type or level of athleticism. Parent and community participation are encouraged to fill board member and coach positions. The Bell Warriors also offer free football clinics for youth in the community, making it easy for the whole community to enjoy the sport. They also promote civic duty and responsibility for all their players.
Youth of the Year: Awarded to a young person who exemplifies leadership, inspires their peers and has made a significant contribution to the community through volunteer service.
- Jessica Hemstead (award recipient). Jessica is a tenth grade student at Paul-Desmarais Secondary School in Stittsville. For years, Jessica has been volunteering at both her school and the Stittsville community at large. Jessica is the individual behind “Magasin Gratuit”, an event she organized with her teachers and peers that provides less fortunate families with Christmas gifts and clothing for their children. She has also organized a free Mother’s Day breakfast for the community. Jessica was the lead on an Olympic activity day for fifth grade students, where she directed various student volunteers and teachers in order to make the day a success. When she is not volunteering at school, Jessica is a swimming coach for young children in the community.
Teacher of the Year: Awarded in recognition of an outstanding teacher in our community. This award is that goes above and beyond to support students and inspire the next generation of leadership in the community.
- Curtis MacNeil (award recipient).Curtis has been teaching at Sacred Heart Catholic High School since it opened twenty years ago. As a phys-ed teacher, he is the founder of many Husky athletic traditions linked to the school’s football and basketball teams. He is the organizer of the year-end sports awards assembly and luncheon at the school, promoting inclusion and healthy living amongst students. Curtis has also acted as a guidance counsellor, guiding students through important life decisions. When he is not teaching, Curtis participates in the Holy Spirit Catholic Parish where he has organized a basketball free throw tournament for the community, as well as demonstrated amazing leadership through music at masses.
- Nicole Charest. Nicole is a second-grade teacher at A. Lorne Cassidy School. Popular among both students and parents, Nicole is known for going beyond the curriculum. She is often found teaching her second-grade students civic duties like keeping the community clean, on top of their learning materials. She encourages parent involvement and is welcoming to all. Her caring demeanor is very beneficial to students, as it ensures a lifelong impact amongst these children.