The mayor and city council hosted our Volunteer Recognition Evening October 18 at the Gelber Conference Centre. With the ballroom beautifully decorated to resemble a cruise ship, Mayor Anthony Housefather served as captain for what we dubbed the HMS CSL whic he rightly pointed out "has been sailing in calm seas over the last four years."
A number of awards were handed out:
The William E. Kesler Memorial Trophy, named after the late William E. Kesler, who served on city council, goes to an individual in recognition of their contribution to recreation special events. This year’s winner was Bernard Pont. He is the quintessential (ideal) person compatible with his volunteering for the Senior’s Golf Outing. Quiet, unpretentious, unassuming, he visits each donor weeks before the outing. Sometimes he hits the jackpot by receiving something on his first try, but many times he visits once, twice and even more times, always with his modest smile. He is not heard from until the day before the golf event. At this time he places his booty on the table with and quietly walks away with that modest smile.
The Community Special Events Award is presented to the "couple’’ who have made a significant contribution to community special events. Mindy and Irving Schok were this year’s winners. They proved once again why marriage makes good bedfellows….or is that volunteers!! This delightful couple turned several of our community special events into ‘highlights’ of the year. Who will forget the Carnival Dance whereby they played such a large role in supporting the event with determining the theme, DJ Music, decorations, etc. They followed up on this event by volunteering at the annual blood donor clinic, and then at the annual Garage Sale. When it comes to special events, you’re sure to see them always supporting the community of which they are so proud.
The Royal Canadian Legion Brigadier Frederick Kisch Branch 97 Award is presented to the Youth Volunteer of the Year, in recognition of an outstanding effort in making a difference in Côte Saint-Luc through volunteer service. Kevin Barnes was this year’s winner. He began working for the city in 2007 as a pool filter operator. Since then, he has occupied several positions such as outdoor ice rink maintenance attendant and baseball field maintenance attendant. During his employment with the city, he has been completing a Leisure Studies bachelor's degree. In 2008, he selected the Legion for a community recreation programming class. He led his group to organize and host a bingo night for the veteran's and the event was well appreciated and enjoyed by the members and their guests. This spring, he volunteered to assist the Parks and Recreation Department to coordinate various events, while he was awaiting the beginning of his baseball field maintenance contract to start. He contributed to the success of the 2009 VE Day, the 30th Annual Senior’s Golf Outing and also worked on sponsorship efforts for the Parks and Recreation Department .The department appreciated his positive attitude, determination and work ethic during the time he spent volunteering for the city.
The Socio Cultural Award is presented for exceptional contribution to the parks and recreation socio-cultural programs. We were fortunate to have two award recipients: Roz Agulnick and former City Councillor Harold Greenspon. Roz is one of the founding members of the local Quilter’s Guild. For the first two years or so, she served as recording secretary and liaison with the city and quilting community. She has served as a co-president for a two year term and now shares the co-president’s duties with two other members. Last year, she was a co-chairperson for International Quilting Day and will be doing this again for 2010. She was instrumental in planning the first "open house" last year. Harold served as a city Ccouncillor for 25 years. As a chartered accountant by profession, he has gained everyone’s respect and admiration serving as the head of the finance and audit committee during his tenure. He also served as Chairman of the City’s Parks committee. Very soon after the 2005 election he was in fact the first citizen officially invited to join a committee – the audit committee. Through the years, he also maintained a strong presence on the Maisons Fleuries committee, first as Chairman, and more recently as a judge. Whether he judges a few properties, or several, it is always done with a smile as bright as a sunflower. We recognize him tonight for his continuing support and contribution to the Maisons Fleuries competition.
The Special Recognition Award went to Rhonda Schechtman.She has been assisting the Côte Saint-Luc Tennis Club for many years with her "communications" expertise. Each year, she volunteers to assist with the design of the annual newsletter and membership applications. If she already wasn’t doing enough, this year she added another duty by typing the entire new rules and regulations manual, a 28 page document.
The Hazel Lipes Award, named after the former Côte Saint-Luc City Councillor, recognizes an individual’s significant contribution to Community Services. Beverley Rath was this year’s winner. She has been volunteering at the library since 2007. During that time she has taken the 'Your Opinion' program and really made it her own. Each week, she visits one of the four local seniors' residences that we currently partner with, to present current events in the news in discussion groups, which have grown to up 50 people each time. She has really become part of the family, both in the physical library and in the residences; she frequently gets invited to birthday and holiday festivities by ''her ladies'', as she warmly refers to those who frequent her program. She is a mother, a wife, and a long-time resident of CSL, and says that she does all her wonderful work as a library volunteer, ''for the love of it'', and because it does her just as much good as it does her ladies (and gentlemen too). We love her here at the library, and cannot express to her enough, the huge impact that she is making in people's lives and just how proud of her we, and the City of Côte Saint-Luc are.
The Lifetime Achievement Award went to the remarkable Mollie Udashkin. She has been a volunteer fitness instructor at the Senior Centre for 30 years and teaches classes three times weekly and for many years taught the three classes twice, the men and women separately. Despite being active at the Centre, she has always been interested in the health and well-being of the elder adult. She demonstrated this concern for the seniors in the MacDonald Avenue area and was one of the founding members and is still a member of the Creative Social Centre. In earlier times and despite a growing family, she and her husband successfully ran a business and she was well-known in the fur industry for her business savvy. Despite the passing years, she keeps up with the times and is interested in learning new and innovative ways of keeping fit. She is always seeking knowledge in her field and attends classes in universities all over the world. When visiting a son in California, she takes the time to take courses at a well-known university to keep up with the latest in exercises and health issues. Her nomenclature of "guru" is well-deserved. Not only is she interested in the well-being if the adult population, she has been a devoted volunteer and fund-raiser for the Montreal Children’s Hospital Foundation. Deeply committed to her own fund, she proudly collects the many gifts she receives and recently funded well-needed medical equipment for the natal unit. She is a woman whose efforts in the fight of childhood disease match her efforts in the fight of keeping the health of the adult. She has received many honours by different organizations for giving what she knows best, her knowledge of the merits of exercise and nutrition – and the City of Côte Saint-Luc has recognized her efforts many times. Over the past 20 years that she has served in her role of fitness instructor at the Centre, one can count on one hand the times that she has cancelled her class due to inclement weather. Like the postman, she delivers, rain or shine. Accepting the award for her was her grandson, Côte Saint-Luc’s Director of Legal Affairs and City Clerk Jonathan Shecter.
The EMS Awards are presented for exceptional contribution to the Côte Saint-Luc Emergency Medical Services, and this year we had three recipients to honour. The first EMS award, presented for excellence in operations went to Rafael Aroutunian
He is always ready to help, volunteering hundreds of hours, including many overnight shifts. As head of the equipment team, he is an innovator and helps EMS stay on the cutting edge of new equipment and technologies. He keeps an open mind and an attentive ear to the needs of the other volunteers and continuously leads by example. The second EMS Award, presented for excellence in education, went to Jarred Knecht. Since taking over the driver training portfolio, he has brought a breath of fresh air to the training of new EMS drivers. He works to ensure that new drivers have the knowledge and skills to manoeuver the vehicles quickly and safely through the streets of Cote Saint-Luc. Also an active team leader, he is a great resource person for members new and old. The third EMS Award, presented to the Rookie of the Year, went to Phil Vourtzoumis.
Since becoming a medic in spring 2009, he continuously seeks to get involved in new projects and tasks. He is a member of the quality assurance team and equipment team. Even as a rookie, defined as less than one year of service, he is a model member and a great part of the EMS team.
The vCOP (Volunteer Citizens On Patrol) Award is presented for outstanding contribution as a leader in the promotion of community safety. Susan Schwartz was thus year’s recipient. As a vCOP supervisor, she is responsible for coordinating the numerous special events around the City, including sporting, cultural and educational events. She volunteers countless hours at events and on regular patrols. You'll always find her at our monthly City Council meetings, helping maintain order and assisting residents. She is always smiling and a great asset not only to vCOP, but to the whole city.
The ECO Award is presented to a volunteer in recognition of leadership in the promotion of environmental advocacy and action within the community and tonight we have two recipients to honour. Two co-winners were Alison Levine and John Sciascia
Alison started as an Eco Action volunteer back in 2008 and got so involved with her community that she became a summer 2009 Green Patroller for the City. Her job was to ride her bike and promote environmental awareness through courtesy notes, games, kiosks, pamphlets, etc. Her mandate is over and is still helping the city. John began attending EcoAction meetings in 2008 and since then has helped numerous times during events such as Canada Day, EcoAction Day, and Gigi Cohen's Cooking Class. Despite his busy student and now professional life, he is always willing to help raise environmental awareness in the community.
The Ambassador of the Year Award, is presented to the citizen best portraying charitable qualities and serving the community at large. Al Grosser, a member of the Côte Saint-Luc Senior Men’s Club almost 15 years, was this year’s winner. In those 15 years and until the today, he has been involved in every project, from the annual dinner and dance to the mundane of tasks that other members shun. He brings a positive, enthusiastic and energetic attitude to any situation in which he is involved and this enthusiasm is transmitted to other members. As big as he is, his heart is even bigger. He has refused presidency many times, claiming that he can do more for the club being an all-round member who will tke on any job, then sit in the president’s seat. So, he carries the title of honourary vice-president.
The Sports Award, presented for exceptional contribution to community sports, went to Jack Rosenfield. He has been a tireless volunteer for the Côte Saint-Luc Tennis Club during the past several years, but his true contributions to the Tennis Club blossomed over the last three years. During that period, he donated his time and professional expertise as a computer consultant in bringing the club into the 21st Century.He initiated a customer communication programme so that members could be informed about club activities on a regular basis. He drafted checklists for staff, developed data entry programs for membership statistics, assisted club managers in preparing project timelines, and prepared and presented a ‘’virtual’’ tour of the club to parents of new tennis campers this summer. As well, he drafted a rules and regulations manual which each member received this year, the first such manual distributed in more than 10 years. Finally, one of his greatest achievements was negotiating a new working agreement initiative between a private Tennis Camp organization and the City’s Tennis Club.He regularly devoted anywhere from forty to fifty hours a week over a period of more than six months during each of the past three years, to the club and is a true example of volunteerism at its best.
The Stewart Mankofsky Memorial Trophy, presented in memory of Stewart Mankofsky, a young Côte Saint-Luc athlete who passed away at a far too early age, was presented by Mark Rothpan. He spoke about his dear friend Stewart, who was only 21 when he passed away. Mark and Stewart’s parents presented the award to Matthew Zeitz as an individual who best exemplifies the qualities of dedication, sportsmanship, and love of competition. He is both a Côte Saint Luc athlete and volunteer. Growing up in the community he played house-league hockey, graduated into the inter-city hockey ranks with the Westluc Saints organization, and participated in high school hockey with Centennial Academy..When he wasn’t playing, he moved on to his next love…which was volunteering his time with young athletes. He supervised the Camp B’Nai Brith Hockey program, followed by a coaching stint in house-league baseball. He then started coaching inter-city hockey and has been doing so for the past seven years. He served as co-chair of the popular Bar-Mitzvah Hockey tournament and raised much needed funds for ORT and United Talmud Torah. He volunteered his time to sit on the Board of the Starlight Foundation and participated in the March to Jerusalem and the Walk to Cure breast cancer.
The Edward J. Kirwan Trophy, presented to the Volunteer of the Year for exceptional contribution to the Parks and Recreation programs, went to Cynthia Segal-Friedman. It is truly fitting that the person nominated for the "Côte Saint-Luc Volunteer of the Year Award" has lived in Côte Saint-Luc her whole life. She grew up in CSL as a child and as a mother chose to bring up her own family in CSL. She has been actively working in the Côte Saint-Luc Figure Skating Club since 2000 for the early part on the front lines responsible for the group sessions. She worked at this position for several years before serving on the board of directors. She became a director on the FSC board in 2002-03 seasons and for the past five years, has been the First Vice President responsible for the Intermediate & Senior skaters. She has repeatedly undertaken to organize the Club skaters for the Cities Winter Carnival skating show. To describe her in just a few words is almost impossible. Her strong sense of fairness is her dominating character trait. It goes without saying that she has a strong commitment to both her family & community. Her level of diplomacy carries her through many situations with great kindness and caring. Her organizational skills allow her to always be at the "top of the game."