Community recognizes dedicated volunteers at Stittsville Volunteer Awards ceremony

The Stittsville Volunteer Awards were held on May 31st at the Johnny Leroux Community Centre, hosted by Councillor Gower. The volunteer awards highlight the individuals, youth, groups, and businesses for all the work they do for the community. Councillor Gower offered his opening remarks thanking the volunteers for all they do for our community, then asked Abby Thompson to sing the National Anthem. Mayor Mark Sutcliffe shared his opening remarks and and Terry Christopher shared his sage advice. Roger McKee, a Griffiths family member, remarked that “after the awards, these volunteers will be on to their next project”.

This year, there were 18 nominations received from community members to name a volunteer to be recognized. There are six categories in which to nominate someone who had made a positive difference in our community.

The Roger Griffiths Memorial Citizen of the Year category received five nominations:

  • Capt. Brian Bedard – Recipient
  • Penny Horeczy
  • Glynn Kneebone
  • Adrienne Noble
  • Chelsea Walton and Scott Muir

The John Curry Memorial Youth of the Year category received three nominations:

  • Xavier Branch
  • Rebecca Cocchetto
  • Kaitlyn LeBoutillier – Recipient

The Senior Citizen of the Year category received two nominations:

  • Capt. Brian Bedard
  • Dave Rooke – Recipient

The Teacher of the Year category received two nominations:

  • Matthew Davey – Recipient (Matthew was unable to attend as he was ‘volunteering’)
  • Sandra Polito

The Business of the Year category received three nominations:

  • Amberwood Lounge and Eatery
  • Foley Peeters Home Team (were unable to make it to the ceremony)
  • Scratch Box Gastro Truck – Recipient

The Volunteer Group of the Year received three nominations:

  • Chelsea Walton, Scott Muir and Family
  • Hazeldean Gardens Retirement Residence Volunteers – Recipient
  • Lionhearts Inc. (Chapel Hill Church)

Stittsville Central was pleased to speak with some of the awardees.

(Brian Bedard receives his Roger Griffiths Memorial Citizen of the Year award from the Griffiths family members, Roger McKee and Lynn Griffiths, alongside Councillor Gower.)

Brian Bedard – Roger Griffiths Memorial Citizen of the Year. Brian and his family have lived in Stittsville for four decades just around the corner from Ottawa Fire Station #81 and is now retired. During his time as a firefighter Brian has done many volunteer events such as fundraising car washes, pancake breakfasts, led tours of the fire station, coached hockey teams, was a committed fundraiser for Muscular Dystrophy and when the Stittsville Flea Market was still around, Brian could be found manning the booth and collecting donations for the fire station. Brian also donated his time towards the Stittsville Parade of Lights and has acted as the Chief Parade Marshall for several years.

A surprised Brian shared with Stittsville Central, “I was totally surprised. There were other people nominated who also deserved to be awarded this special award as well. I was in good company with the other nominees. I am grateful that for 46 years I have been able to be giving to my community and now the tables are turned with the community saluting me. This is really special to me”. For those that know Brian will recognize his great sense of humour as well and he added, “I would be happy to receive an award if there had been one for a janitor!”.

(Kaitlyn LeBoutillier accepts her John Curry Memorial Youth of the Year award from Councillor Gower.)

Kaitlyn LeBoutillier – John Curry Memorial Youth of the Year. Community involvement and volunteering have been first and foremost in Kaitlyn’s life. She generously gives of her time for the benefit of others. Kaitlyn is a Grade 12 student at Sacred Heart High School. Kaitlyn not only plays basketball, she also volunteers as a coach and a game scorekeeper when required; she played softball in the SMS League; she played ringette with WORA and volunteers her time as an on-ice teacher and performs scorekeeping duties as needed. Kaitlyn has been a camp counsellor and could be found serving hot meals at Thanksgiving up until COVID began. At her high school, Sacred Heart, Kaitlyn has given of her time coaching sports teams, organizing Grades 7 and 8 interest clubs; is a member of the ReconciliAction Club for Indigenous initiatives; the Editor of the school newspaper; a team lead for the 2023 Relay for Life; member of the Wellness Team to support her fellow classmates; and a senior member of the Student’s Council.

Kaitlyn enthusiastically shared her comments, “Firstly, it was an incredible event to attend; it was so well organized and put together. There were so many people who came together to make it happen and I was super happy and honoured to be able to attend! (It really is crazy how many things I am experiencing in Stittsville for the first time and all the new people I am meeting just before I move away!)

It was great to see all the different volunteers in our community and amazing how anyone in any category could have won as they all had incredible achievements in their own respect. 

I am incredibly honoured not only to have been nominated, but to receive the John Curry Memorial Youth of the Year award. It is great to be recognized for my hard work but also a testament to the amazing people I work with in order to be as accomplished as I am. None of the school initiatives I take part in would be possible without teacher supervisors and other volunteers and I certainly wouldn’t be where I am without the support of my parents. My whole family has always supported me no matter what tasks I am taking on and always offer help in whatever way they can.”

(Dave Rooke receives his Senior Citizen of the Year award from Councillor Gower.)

Dave Rooke – Senior Citizen of the Year. A former soldier and military helicopter pilot, Dave continued to support military operations in the private sector after his 31-year career with the Forces. Dave has accomplished a lot in his life and since moving to Stittsville in 2004, has been President of the Rotary Club of Ottawa-Stittsville in 2020/21 being a member since 2016. He has raised funds for cancer and through the Rotary Club has lived by their mission of ‘Service Above Self in all aspects of life’. Dave has given selflessly to local Indigenous communities with support of I Love First People’s, he has delivered sewing machines to remote Indigenous schools and winter boots to indigenous youth participating in Back to the Land activities. He took the lead to deliver flowers to residents at Thanksgiving; supports the Stittsville Food Bank; and with the support of Rotary’s involvement has provided leadership to support women’s shelter assistance and refugee settlement programs. Dave will be returning as President of the Rotary Club of Ottawa-Stittsville for 2023/24.

Dave was humbly surprised of his win. “I was surprised to be nominated and to receive this special award. Volunteering was a team effort and was a nice recognition. The person who takes the time to recognize someone in the community also deserves mention. Through my work with Rotary, opportunities to volunteer have arisen such as raising awareness of Polio – the signature servicing program for Rotary International. A worldwide network of 1.4 million Rotarians in over 200 countries work to support this program. I am pleased to help the Indigenous people’s through I Love First People’s where I delivered sewing machines to the program, Sew and Sew, in Indigenous schools in 14 different communities to allow students to mend tents and snowsuits. I’ve been doing this for four years. I must point out that if you haven’t seen it, attend the Rotary Club’s very special showing of Bones of Crows on June 26th.

There are a lot of people deserving of this award and everyone should make an effort to volunteer and make our community a better place. It is humbling to think that I should be nominated.”

(Reggie Olson receives his Business of the Year award from Councillor Gower.)

Business of the Year – Scratch Box Gastro Truck. Opening a business during Covid is a challenge in itself, but Chef Reggie Olson and his family accepted the challenge. Moving from Alberta, they made Stittsville their new home and is committed to and there for their new community. In Alberta, his philanthropy was evident – he was known for his YouTube videos teaching people to cook meals on a budget and partnered with a local food bank sharing his talent with residents to make affordable meals at home. He invited residents to see behind the scenes of a food truck prior to opening. Only five months after opening in Stittsville, the Derecho hit and Chef Reggie provided free meals to those without power. When break-ins occurred at several Stittsville food trucks, Reggie was there to offer his support – even when his own truck had been broken into. To support the Stittsville Village Association, he provided free meals to 160 volunteers who donated their time to make the ‘Parade of Lights’ a success. As recently as April 2023, Reggie again provided free meals to those without power. Reggie also supports Operation Come Home, an organization close to his heart. He continues to give back by providing meals to those residents who are having a difficult time during these financially stressful times. The Olsons have continuously given back to our community and have made a huge difference in the lives of others.

Reggie humbly shared his thoughts on his award. “I must say we were very surprised to be nominated, let alone win. At the awards ceremony, we heard so many amazing things that people do for our community and were very humbled by all the stories of generosity and selflessness the people of Stittsville do for everyone. We were in amazing company that night.

What we realized is that volunteers are born from their own personal stories. So here is mine. I was raised in a home with not a lot of money and certainly not a lot of love. Growing up and finding myself I realized that it wasn’t such a bad thing, In fact it made me the person I am today – if I see a chance where I can help even just a little I will. The world that I see is not built for loneliness, fear or separation, it should be built for sharing, kindness and the ability to work together to make things better. This is something we try to instill at Scratch Box and continue to try to spread this throughout. We are not people who do things to try and achieve a certain reaction from the public, we are simply people who want to help. We are family, friends, and community first and a business second.

With all this being said we would like to thank all of you for embracing us. We encourage everyone to help where you can, even in the smallest way. A massive thank you to all the other nominees and winners. It’s with hard work and love for people and community, like theirs, that make this the best community anywhere to live. We love you all, Scratch Box Gastro Truck.”

(The Hazeldean Gardens Retirement Residence volunteers receive their Volunteer Group of the Year award from Councillor Gower.)

On May 31st the Stittsville Volunteer Awards highlighted the remarkable community builders and the spirit of volunteerism and Stittsville is very fortunate to have so many dedicated volunteers who constantly and dedicatedly give back to our community. If you weren’t able to attend, watch the ceremony on Councillor Gower’s YouTube channel to hear firsthand what these incredible folks have accomplished.

Congratulations to all of the nominees and the recipients – you make Stittsville great!


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