Community champions in Dufferin–Caledon recognized with commemorative Queen’s Platinum Jubilee pins at local ceremony

November 3, 2022   ·   0 Comments

Over 60 awards were distributed to community champions from Dufferin-Caledon MP Kyle Seeback during a ceremony at the Orangeville Agricultural Society Event Centre on Oct. 28.

The awards came in the form of a commemorative Queen’s Platinum Jubilee pin, recognizing their exemplary community service.
“I’m honoured to be recognizing some of Dufferin-Caledon’s unsung heroes who selflessly dedicate themselves to community service and in doing so, make our community and country a better place,” said MP Seeback. “These community champions exemplify the qualities that guided the life and 70-year reign of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.”

In honour of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s 70 years of loyal service and dedication to Canada, MP Seeback invited the people of Dufferin–Caledon to nominate community heroes who selflessly serve the community and in doing so, make the local region and Canada, a better place.

The aim of MP Seeback’s initiative was to recognize these heroes with a commemorative pin bearing the Canadian Platinum Jubilee emblem that was created to celebrate the queen’s service and dedication to Canada, as well as her achievements of the past seven decades.

“I was blown away by the submissions my office received for this program and the amazing range of contributions being made all over Dufferin-Caledon. We have community champions here tonight representing every facet of society,” said Mr. Seeback. “I’m incredibly proud of the work each of you do to ensure the needs of others are always met and that vitally important community groups and organizations can deliver essential programs and services.”

Orangeville residents who received the award include:

Larry Acchione – Active supporter of Amaranth Minor Soccer, Orangeville Flyers Hockey, and Partners in Safety-Community Safety Net. Larry’s company, Allto Construction, has been a longstanding employer in Orangeville for over 50 years, and partners with many local causes.

Marcel Babineau – An active and engaged community member who has devoted himself to creating Project Angel, a community initiative to remember loved ones, after suffering the devastating loss of his children, Monique and Daniel, and his desire to bring comfort to others who’ve also lost their loved ones. Project Angel led to the placement of a wooden statue of an angel at Forest Lawn Cemetery, as well as the restoration of the Soldiers War Memorial.

Linda Banks – Named Senior of the Year by the Town of Orangeville in June 2022, Linda’s exceptional efforts have enriched the social, cultural, and civic life of Orangeville. She’s known for the enthusiasm and boundless energy. she’s selflessly given to various community organizations and events, such as Theatre Orangeville, the Orangeville Heritage Committee, the Orangeville Blues & Jazz Festival, the Orangeville & District Seniors Centre, and PROBUS.

Stephanie Bobechko – Stephanie gives her time and energy to the Lighthouse, a local organization sponsored by Good Friends Church that offers a safe place for those who are lonely or struggling to find friends and support for whatever they may be going through. Her work and efforts help the Lighthouse provide free meals and a safe meeting place, while also helping the organization to deliver social, physical, and spiritual care to anyone in need throughout Dufferin.

John Frederick Christie – John has devoted his life to community service, volunteering with many organizations in various roles, for a wide range of causes. More recently, he’s a current member of Headwaters Health Care Foundation and Investment Committee. He’s served on countless not-for-profit boards and has held a variety of volunteer positions in Ontario, Alberta, Newfoundland, and Quebec.

Chase Donnell – In February of 2021, Chase began making bath bombs and selling them with all monies raised donated to local charities of his choice, they include the Orangeville SPCA and Headwaters Hospital.

Ruth Melanie Garwood – Since moving to Orangeville in 2000, Ruth has logged thousands of hours with various groups volunteering her time for the community and our youth. She’s been very active with the local branch of the Royal Canadian Legion (Branch 233) since 2006. She’s an executive member, acts as the liaison between the Legion and the Air Cadets in Grand Valley and the Army Cadets in Orangeville.

Ruth volunteered her time with the Girl Guides of Canada for 12 years. During her time, she was co-commissioner for the Orangeville region, as well as Brown Owl for a Guide unit. She then spent six years as treasurer support for three Guide units within Orangeville.

For many years, Ruth volunteered her time re-enacting the War of 1812. She participated as a female soldier and was always willing to help teach children about our country’s history.

Sherri Gray – Sherri is a dedicated member of Dufferin’s agricultural community. She has served as secretary/treasurer of the Dufferin Federation of Agriculture (DFA), working incredibly hard to help represent and advocate the interests of over 500 Ontario Federation of Agriculture members in Dufferin County. Through her efforts, the DFA continues to be a strong voice for farmers and farming.

Sherri has also contributed her time to the Dufferin Farm Tour, a tour that takes visitors to several different farms in Dufferin County, providing visitors with a unique experience, showcasing the diversity of agriculture in the area.

Barry Kimber – Barry is the president of the Orangeville Legion Br. 233 and been a member there for 35 years. In July, he was honoured with the Royal Canadian Legion Life Membership, which is given to those members of long-standing, consistent and outstanding service to the Legion.

During his long membership with the Legion, he served in the branch executive committee since 2014. He was elected branch president in 2019, an appointment he held through the difficult days of COVID-19 restrictions. Last May, he was re-elected to that post for an additional one-year term.

Barry’s work has been crucial over the last three years to ensuring the Branch’s survival through his skills, experience, and volunteerism. Through his efforts, the Branch secured both government funding and private donations.

Kelly Lamont – Kelly selflessly dedicates herself to the Orangeville Legion Br. 233, and to ensuring the act of remembrance remains strong and the needs of the local community’s veterans are consistently met. She’s known for always going above and beyond and can always be found diligently working behind the scenes and making community engagement a priority.

Shannon & Valerie McGrady – Valerie and her daughter, Shannon, were instrumental in advocating for Orangeville’s new Bravery Park, in honour of Canadian soldiers and the critical role they play in standing on guard for Canada. These local heroes were driven to take on this work after their late son and brother, Corporal Matthew McCully, a member of the Canadian Armed Forces, was killed in Afghanistan in 2007 after he had stepped on an improvised explosive device. More than decade later in September 2021, and with community support, their goal was realized when the community gathered to dedicate Bravery Park.

Jenny Miedema – Jenny has dedicated herself to speaking out for the oppressed and persecuted through her work with Remember Ministries. She works with many local church groups, as they undertake refugee sponsorship applications, taking a mentorship and advocacy role, as they work through the process.

Jaylen Padayachee – Jaylen, together with the support of his dad, Koven, and sister, Isabella, successfully concluded their second annual Food Bank Street Challenge earlier this year.

Jaylen and his dad conceptualized the challenge in November 2020 in response to the food bank’s need for more donations, as a result of the pandemic. They established a contactless donation pick up system, keeping everyone safe, whereby children learn about the importance of giving back to their community while being outside, receiving exercise, and supporting an outstanding cause.

Jim Pattison – Jim has dedicated many years to the Caledon Agricultural Society, currently serving as an associate director on the board of directors. He’s also active with the Alton Legion, supporting their work on behalf of veterans and ensuring the act of Remembrance remains strong in the community.

Chuck Simpson – Chuck is a community leader who is passionate about the work and role of the Orangeville Legion Br. 233. He is dedicated to ensuring the community continues talking about the World Wars, honours the memory of those who served Canada, and that the learning never ends. He is the poppy chair for the local Legion and is committed to making a difference through the money raised during the Poppy Campaign, which goes into a trust fund, where it’s allocated to support veterans and their families.

Makenna and Seanna Thomas – Makenna and Seanna demonstrated outstanding leadership in activism and advocacy. Working together, they quickly coordinated the Orangeville Black Lives Matter march with posters and social media messages, which included detailed social distancing and masking guidelines to ensure everyone’s safety. Her efforts significantly contributed to more than 1,000 people joining the march that started from Alexandra Park.

Jim Waddington – Jim has been instrumental in organizing Orangeville’s annual Celebrate Your Awesome event, a salute to pride and diversity in Dufferin County. He’s a member of MENtors, a group of local men who help with the work of Family Transition Place. He has also served on various boards and committees, including the Dufferin County Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee. He cohosted a Rogers Cable show called Dufferin Life with Teena Avery before the pandemic.

The pandemic also shifted Celebrate Your Awesome to virtual festivities; however, it returned to an in-person format this year celebrating its fifth anniversary and was a huge success.

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