2015 Ontario Senior Achievement Awards Recipients
The Ontario Senior Achievement Awards recognize men and women who have made outstanding contributions to their communities through voluntary or professional activities after the age of 65.
The 2015 recipients of the Ontario Senior Achievement Award are:
Mohan Singh Hira Bhangoo of Brampton is a key fundraiser for the Terry Fox foundation and an organizer of the city's Terry Fox Run in support of cancer research. Mr. Bhangoo also shared Terry's story with a whole new community by translating the biography of Terry Fox into Punjabi.
Dorothy Bray of St. Thomas decided, after the loss of her son in 1996 to AIDS, to do what she could to improve the lives of others living with the disease. Her efforts include golf tournaments, bake sales, walks and chocolate sales that have now raised over $150,000 for various charities supporting people living with AIDS and their families.
David Brown of Collingwood is an active member of the residents' council executive of Bay Haven Nursing Home where he welcomes new residents, creates numerous original pieces of artwork for the nursing home and leads sing-alongs every morning with the resident pianist.
William (Bill) Burrell of Brampton is a WW II veteran of the Royal Canadian Air Force. Since retiring from service, Mr. Burrell has volunteered with the local Canadian Legion (raising over $700,000 through the Poppy Fund), Canadian Red Cross, Ontario Minor Hockey League as well as Canada Post's Letters to Santa program.
Levina Collins of Nipigon served on the town council for several years, helping to boost tourism and local economic development. She serves as a member of the PARO Centre for Women's Enterprise and as a project coordinator for the Royal Canadian Legion. In these roles she works to support seniors, women, people with disabilities and children.
Joyce Eklove of Toronto is a community leader, active volunteer and dedicated president of her synagogue. She recently helped oversee a substantial renovation of the synagogue and the accompanying fundraising efforts to support it. She is also an outspoken advocate for vulnerable women in her community.
Robert Hubert of St. Thomas is a passionate environmentalist and conservationist. He installed and actively maintains 100 wood duck boxes which provide nesting sites to these birds that were recently close to extinction. He is a registered bird-bander and works with the Canadian Wildlife Service to band hundreds of waterfowl each year.
Bernard Jordaan of Mississauga is vice president of the Meadowvale Senior's Social Club, and president of United Senior Citizens of Ontario where he works closely with the provincial government on issues affecting seniors across Ontario. This includes advocating for a new Ombudsman for health care and long-term care.
Alfred Lafantaisie of Sudbury has been a volunteer with the local chapter of the Canadian Red Cross in Sudbury, helping with their seniors' transportation program. The organization estimates that over the last 15 years he has driven over 200,000 kilometers to help seniors remain independent and living in their homes.
Norma Levitt of Toronto is a founding member of the South Riverdale Community Health Centre Plain Language Group. The program helps seniors and their caregivers better understand health and medication information, allowing them to make informed and appropriate decisions about their care.
Ekaterina Lotkina of Toronto is an active volunteer with the Jewish Russian Community Centre of Ontario. She is responsible for the mailing operations of the organization, making sure that thousands of letters, birthday greetings, invitations and tax receipts are prepared, signed and delivered on time.
Glenna MacKenzie of Pembroke has managed several community health improvement projects that were life-changing for the seniors in her community. These include the re-development of the Pembroke Civic Hospital into a 92-bed assisted living facility, and the conversion of a local motel into a 30-bed retirement care home.
Kenneth Maitland of Burlington is currently the President of Arts Burlington, a 500 member not for profit organization that provides education and mentoring, and encourages new ideas and innovation in the fields of arts and crafts. Last year alone, Arts Burlington members contributed over 9,000 volunteer hours in support of the Burlington Art Gallery and Arts Burlington.
Patricia Marsden-Dole of Ottawa is a leader, community activist and advocate for seniors' issues in Ontario. She has been politically involved as a member of the board of Fair Vote Canada and served as president of the Ottawa chapter for several years. She has also served as a board member for the Ottawa branch of the Federal Retirees National Association.
Francis Martis of Toronto is the Executive Director of Tender Care Nursing Home. He is also a regular volunteer at St. Vincent's soup kitchen and The Good Shepherd Centre. He has volunteered overseas in Kenya at the St. Therese Development Centre, where he volunteered helping boys and girls who have been victims of physical and sexual abuse.
Dick Moore of Port Colborne is a long-time leader and advocate for the growing community of seniors identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and transsexual (LGBTT). He helped form the Senior PRIDE network and worked closely with the City of Toronto to ensure that the unique needs of LGBTT seniors were addressed in the city's programs and services.
Lydia Palij of Toronto is a Ukrainian writer and translator who has dedicated much of her time to bringing the unique voices of Ukrainian authors to readers across Canada. During her 10 years as a volunteer with the International Festival of Authors in Toronto, she helped six writers from Ukraine travel to Toronto to share their work at the festival.
James Clare Rennie of Guelph materialized his idea to "restore a hundred acre farm back to forest" with the founding of the Rotary Forest Project, a 13-year undertaking that will be complete in 2020. The project is one of the largest, most significant and successful ecological protection projects in the Guelph region.
Margery Sherritt of London has volunteered with more than 10 local organizations since the age of 65. Among her many contributions is her work as co-chair of the transportation working group of the Age-Friendly London Network where she implemented a three-year action plan to improve access to affordable transportation for seniors in London.
Frances Ward Deacon of Toronto helped found the Regent Park Social Action Committee, a non-profit organization that serves individuals and families in need of housing, employment resources and other supports. For the last 20 years, Ms. Deacon has also volunteered every week in support of the homeless with the "Out of the Cold" program, serving food and organizing fundraising events.
Gary Whitten of Orleans is an active and dedicated volunteer with the adult day program at the Eastern Ottawa Resource Centre. Each month, Mr. Whitten puts together and presents an interesting and highly engaging slide show for the participants, serving not only to entertain and educate, but also to stimulate memory and other brain activity.