I was honoured to be presented with the Citizen of the Year Award at the 2017 Kawartha Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Awards of Excellence Gala on Friday evening. I can’t really remember what I said in my comments upon accepting the award, so if you would indulge me, I would like to make sure I thank the many people who are involved in this award.
This award is “Presented to an individual who has been a leader in moving the region forward and has been responsible for the improvement and well being of the business community beyond personal or business gain.” I have been involved in many different events in and around Lakefield over the last 28 years, but as you know, it is impossible to do these things alone so I feel compelled to acknowledge my cohorts.
Firstly my husband, John. After the initial shock of “You want to do what?!”, he is always right there to support me and help me, often being “voluntold” as he says. I love you John and I thank you for being at my side.
Secondly the staff, past and present, at the Lakefield Pantry. Their dedication to the store, their professionalism and their commitment to excellence give me the confidence to take time away from the store with the knowledge that our customers will receive outstanding quality of service. You are a fantastic bunch.
Thirdly, all of the people I have been privileged to work with on the various organizing committees and boards I have been involved in. Their excellence, efficiency and dedication to the community continue to inspire me and push me a greater level of commitment. While I would love to name them all, I’m afraid I would forget someone so let me just say “thank you” to all of the fellow business owners, residents and community service organizations whom I have worked with throughout the years. Also to all of our friends and family members who have jumped in at the last minute when we were short of volunteers. Your role in our success is so important.
Finally, to the person who nominated me, “thank you”. I do appreciate the recognition. To the Kawartha Chamber of Commerce & Tourism, thank you for being here to support, promote and recognize businesses and individuals in our community. To the other nominees for this award and for all of the other awards presented on Friday evening; I am honoured to be working alongside you in our community. You are what make this community strong and precious and such an extraordinary place to live.
Lastly, to my motivation. I am fortunate to have been supported in business and personally by this community for 28 years. I feel that it is important for anyone who benefits from a community to give back to that community and that is what I am trying to do. I am not so selfless as to deny the hope that the Lakefield Pantry’s name will be mentioned in conjunction with these events for a little free advertising, but mostly I want to see all of the people of Lakefield and area come together and celebrate our community. To that end, I will issue a challenge; if you feel you benefit in any way from living or working here, make a commitment to volunteer on some level, somewhere. Everyone has their own unique talents that can help in many different organizations or events, so whether you can contribute 1 hour a year or 100 hours, please take the initiative to step up and become involved. You will be overwhelmed at how rewarding it feels.