Nominations are open until June 15 for this award honouring the voluntary and professional contributions of Ontarians over age 65.
It’s been a snowy spring in many parts of North America, but thanks to Peggy Wiechno, lots of needy children in Brockville, Ontario will be staying warm and snug. She has donated over 750 snowsuits complete with hats and gloves over the past 15 years, giving as many as 77 in a single year to the annual Kinsmen Snowsuit Drive for Leeds and Grenville Family and Children’s Services. This past fall, Wiechno was recognized for her efforts by Ontario’s Lieutenant Governor with a 2014 Ontario Senior Achievement Award. She received the prestigious honour along with 19 other seniors, whose accomplishments range from volunteering with palliative care patients to preserving traditional cultures to lobbying for affordable housing.
Every year since 1986, this award has been presented to Ontarians who have made outstanding contributions to their communities and the province through voluntary service or professional activities after the age of 65. Last year’s recipients include 101-year-old Luena Daley of Collingwood, who may be a centenarian but is still going strong as a musician at the Bay Haven Senior Care Community and occasional pianist at her church; and twin brothers William D. Goodings and Robert A. Goodings of Toronto, who have shared their civil engineering expertise with water systems and waste management (respectively) around the world.
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The energy and accomplishments of this group of achievers is enviable at any age, and it’s clear that Ontario’s Lieutenant Governor, The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, is inspired along with the rest of us. She said:
“I am delighted to honour these 20 seniors, who have so generously contributed to the strengthening of communities in Ontario — and even throughout the world. Through their leadership, wisdom, and talents, they bring us inspiration. We can create just and sustainable communities in Ontario.”
If you know an Ontarian over the age of 65 who has contributed significantly to the community, the application deadline for this year’s award is June 15. Qualified nominees might come from many diverse areas: they may have supported the arts, participated in community service or volunteer activities, worked on behalf of education or the environment, promoted fitness, or backed humanitarian causes. Nominations require a submission package with testimonial letters to be submitted to the Ontario Honours and Awards Secretariat, either online or by post.
Honorees chosen by the independent selection committee are recognized each year during a special ceremony at Queen’s Park. For additional information on nominations, visit the Ontario Senior Achievement Awards web page.
There are more than two million seniors in Ontario, and, together with Baby Boomers, they contributed over one billion volunteer hours in 2010, according to a report by Volunteer Canada.
Volunteering provides significant physical, emotional, cognitive and social benefits, as well as promoting community engagement; it’s no surprise that more and more seniors every year are enjoying the intrinsic and extrinsic rewards of helping the province and the world. If you know someone deserving of recognition for their contributions to their Ontario community, don’t miss the chance to nominate!
We want to hear about the accomplishments of our readers, too. Share the outstanding volunteerism or professional achievements of you or a loved one in the comments below.