Every day this week StittsvilleCentral.ca will look back at some of the most interesting stories from 2016. We’ll kick it off with our favourite profiles and stories about the incredible people who make Stittsville such a dynamic place to live.
The obvious place to start is with Erica Wiebe, the former Sacred Heart High School student who won a gold medal in wrestling at the Olympics in Rio. Within hours of her victory in August, signs started going up all over the community to celebrate her win. She returned later in the fall for a ceremony where the Goulbourn Rec Centre gym was re-named in her honour. Read more about Erica’s victory…
Some of our most popular stories are about our neighbours who give their time, energy and money to help people in need. The community came out in force to help their neighbours this year. Notably, the massive fundraising effort that’s raised over $150,000 to help Mark Yakabuski, after he was badly injured in a golfing accident … and the community support for 9-year-old Michael Meehan, who is battling cancer. (We hear that Meehan is scheduled for a bone marrow transplant in February.)
Many volunteers are young people like Tyson Lefebvre, who was recognized with an Ontario Junior Citizen Award for his work with the Make A Wish Foundation… There was also Eva Von Jagow, who won a Youth Spirit of the Capital Award.
Stittsville had two award winners – Brown’s Independent and Jaimie Klachan – in this year’s Celebration of People Awards, recognizing individuals and businesses who promote accessibility, inclusion and full community participation by citizens with disabilities.
This year we met Shannon Helleman, who travelled to the Dominican Republic for a week to help run a dental and health clinic … Steve “Buddha” Leafloor was recognized by the Governor General for his contribution as a youth outreach worker, speaker, and social worker … We learned about how the Stittsville community is supporting veterans with PTSD, including an innovative program to pair veterans with service dogs … Jordan McNichols and mom Jan Campbell, aka The Cupcake Fairies, have delivered hundreds of cupcakes to scores of people who needed a “pick-me-up”.
In August, Stittsville’s Charlie Lowthian-Rickert was the Grand Marshal at the Ottawa Pride Parade in downtown Ottawa. The Grade 5 student is a passionate advocate for the rights of transgender, gender fluid, gender queer and intersex Canadians. In May, she joined the federal Justice Minister for the tabling of Bill C-16.
The family of Bryce Jude helped students at A. Lorne Cassidy school unveil a new “Buddy Bench” named in his honour. Jude passed away in 2012 at the age of 7 after a battle with leukemia. “It’s nice to know his memory will hopefully live on,” said his mom Dev.
A. Lorne Cassidy alumni, faculty and staff gathered in September for a trip down memory lane as the school celebrated its 25th anniversary. “It really warms our hearts today to see what a vibrant institution this school has become in 25 years,” said Brian Cassidy in a speech. He’s the son of the school’s namesake, Arthur Lorne Cassidy.
Writer Devyn Barrie brought us two memorable stories about endings. One was about Tim Laplante, who at age 63 decided to retire as the owner of Sobeys on Carp Road after 47 years in the grocery business … the other was about the life and death of John “Herb” Wall, a World War II veteran. Wall passed away of congestive heart failure in August, the conclusion of 95 years of adventure, service and dedication to community and family.
In the arts, singer Grace Lachance released her first official single … Country star Garth Brooks ran a ball hockey clinic at Sacred Heart … Stittsville native Jim Bryson released a critically acclaimed album … Kathleen Edwards finally got her guitar back, thanks to observant dog walker Russell Mason.
Finally, one of the most popular stories of 2016 was about a marriage proposal at the Parade of Lights in November. Josh Gibeault, a volunteer firefighter from Stittsville’s Station 81, popped the question to his longtime girlfriend Megan Faulkner, a nurse at the Granite Ridge Care Community. (She said yes.)
(This post is part of our end-of-year 2016 Rewind series. Read more here…)