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Ontario Volunteer Service Awards presented to local recipients

Volunteers pose for photo.

Non-profit organizations from Windsor-Essex County saw many of their volunteers recognized last week.

The Ontario Volunteer Service Awards came to the region last Wednesday night where over 3,200 volunteer years were honoured. Pins and certificates were awarded to volunteers in five-year increments starting with five-year pins and going up to people getting pins for over 50 years of service.

One of the Amherstburg-area volunteers with extensive volunteer service is Joe LeBlanc. LeBlanc, owner and a coach with the Fighting Island Boxing Club, was recognized for his over 40 years of service.

Among the other groups in or near Amherstburg that saw volunteers recognized, or those that have volunteers from town, were the Windsor-Essex Therapeutic Riding Association (WETRA), the Park House Museum, Bryerswood Youth Camp Optimist Club, Community Living Essex County, Girl Guides of Canada, the Essex County Steam and Gas Engine Museum and many more.

The guest speaker was Sue Desjarlais, a LaSalle town councillor who also volunteers for several area agencies and organizations. Desjarlais pointed out the value of volunteerism and that doing so improves the lives of others.

“Volunteering is a vital part of our community,” said Desjarlais.

Engaging with other volunteers also helps connect people with similar goals.

“Volunteering, for me, means you feel a sense of purpose,” she said. “You meet new people. You improve your mental health.”

Desjarlais added that volunteering helps people develop job skills, and encouraged youth to get out and start giving of their time.

“It gets you out of your comfort zone,” she said.

A pair of local members of provincial parliament (MPPs) were on hand to also bring greetings.

Windsor-Tecumseh MPP Andrew Dowie said he has been one of the recipients of an Ontario Volunteer Service Award in the past.

“I know how it’s going to feel for you tonight,” Dowie said as part of last Wednesday night’s ceremony. “All of the awards are truly deserved.”

Dowie said the over 100 volunteers that were honoured that night put in “countless hours” to help their respective communities.

Windsor West MPP Lisa Gretzky pointed out that people don’t do what they do to be recognized, rather they get involved to “because it is a passion of yours.”

“It’s so important we have events like this to recognize the work you do,” she said.

Ontario Volunteer Service Awards presented to local recipients

By RTT Staff

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