Mayor Jim Watson presented 21 Sovereign Medals for Volunteers on behalf Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette, Governor General of Canada.
The award is presented to individuals who have made significant, sustained and unpaid contributions to their community in Canada or abroad and is considered highest volunteer honour in Canada.
Here is a look at this year’s recipients:
Keith Russell Brown
For more than 50 years, Keith Brown has demonstrated his devotion and dedication to his community and to the City of Ottawa by offering countless hours of his own time to lead various activities such as minor sports.
Sandra Bruff has devoted herself to volunteering with several organizations in Ottawa, including 30 years with the Girl Guides of Canada. She has also coordinated food donations for her local foodbank since 1994, and more recently, has played several key roles with the South Keys Greenboro Community Association.
Michael Carroll has been tutoring children in math for 15 years. He makes math fun and understandable for his students, many of whom are either learning English as a second language or are dealing with major disruptions in their personal lives.
Paul Casagrande has dedicated over 50 years to the Ottawa firefighting community. Through his involvement in the Ottawa Fire Services Brass Band and its respective foundation, he led fundraising efforts to build a monument recognizing and honouring the service of fallen firefighters.
For more than 40 years, Catherine Casserly has been a dedicated and passionate volunteer. She is a founding member of several organizations geared toward supporting women, refugees, the environment and community development, and is a long-standing participant of the charitable endeavours of St. Basil’s Parish.
Alice Chatelain has served the francophone senior population of Ottawa as a volunteer for over 40 years. In addition to being a member of the Fédération des aînés et retraités francophones de l’Ontario and the Club Optimiste Vanier, she tirelessly works in the Centre d’accueil Champlain nursing home for up to six days a week, notably with residents in palliative care.
Peter Dawson has been a volunteer with his local branch of the Royal Canadian Legion for 18 years. During this time, he has assisted veterans by collecting donations during the annual Poppy Campaign, emceeing various veteran functions, organizing fundraising trips to the local casino, and delivering Christmas presents to veterans in nursing homes.
For more than 20 years, Marilyn Fenwick has cared for over 200 dogs in her home on behalf of the Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind. Her assistance and dedication have contributed to the development of these dogs to serve as effective eyes for clients with vision loss.
Nancy Ferguson has volunteered as a community outdoor rink coordinator in her neighbourhood for the past ten years, spending countless winter evenings maintaining the ice for the enjoyment of local families. She has also served as a past director of the Hunt Club Park Community Association.
Since she began volunteering with the Children's Wish Foundation of Canada in 2004, Barbara Hayduk has joined its National Capital advisory board and the Savour the Moment committee, for which she served as chair. She is an active fundraiser and regularly meets with Wish families as a program ambassador.
As president of the IBD Foundation since 2009, Michele Hepburn has demonstrated exemplary leadership in promoting the education and management of inflammatory bowel disease. As one of the foundation's lead fundraisers, she helped raise over $450,000 to advance research and treatment options.
Col (Ret’d) Jarrott Wilbert Holtzhauer
Jarrott Holtzhauer has been an active fundraiser for the Orléans Cumberland Community Resource Centre for over 20 years, as well as a committed member of the Friends of the Canadian War Museum. His resourcefulness and knowledge has helped build relationships with local sponsors and donors in order to maintain quality programming and services for the community.
For over 20 years, Susan Johnson has been with the Centretown Emergency Food Centre, assisting with daily accounting, organizing fundraisers and networking on the organization’s behalf. She has influenced change within the centre and positively impacted the lives of many families.
David Kent has volunteered with Scouts Canada for 23 years, and has contributed to making the scouting community of Crystal Beach vibrant and fun. As Scout commissioner for the region of Nepean, he oversees the operations of seven Scout groups consisting of 600 youth and 200 adult volunteers.
After moving from China to Ottawa in 2011, Patrick Lin quickly became well known in Ottawa as a strong promoter of Chinese culture. He was the driving force behind a joint concert of the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra and the Beijing Symphony Orchestra, as well as being one of the main organizers of Beijing Week, part of Ottawa Welcomes the World 2017.
Wanda Kay Molnar
Wanda Molnar has been a dedicated volunteer with The Ottawa Hospital for 20 years. She has worked at the information desk, the gift shop and the coffee shop, organized special events and held various executive positions on the Auxiliary Board, where she served several successful terms as its president.
Cynthia Pearson has devoted her life to helping others stricken with cancer. She has been volunteering as a canvasser, spokesperson and fundraiser for the Canadian Cancer Society for more than 50 years and continues to have a positive impact on families affected by cancer.
John Denis Peters
Since 1993, John Peters has served in a variety of important roles with the Shepherds of Good Hope, a charity that provides shelter and services to people living on the streets. Notably, he initiated two fundraising events that helped raise tens of thousands of dollars in support of the organization.
For more than 25 years, Dharam Rai has been coordinating and providing tax preparation services for seniors, low-income households, refugees, the homeless and students. He has also volunteered on fundraising initiatives for Big Brothers Big Sisters and other charities.
Frank Spartico has volunteered for the Ottawa Chapter of Tourette Canada for five years, and is dedicated to bringing awareness to the community in order to eliminate stigma, prejudice and discrimination.
Kay Stanley has served the wider community in various capacities, including serving on the board of The Ottawa Hospital for nine years, during a difficult transition period; volunteering with the Eldercare Foundation of Ottawa and the Hospice May Court. Since 2012, she has given her time to various committees within the National Capital Commission.