By John Swartz
If there were no volunteers, Orillia wouldn’t function. Sometimes individuals do more than asked or required and leave a mark on the community. They raise money for projects, have an idea that takes off, or just roll up their sleeves and do the dirty work.
Many volunteers help more than one organization. Quite often those same people are the leaders of community efforts and through their vision and committed effort inspire others to pitch in and help, or open their wallets.
Good efforts should not go unrecognized, which is why the Citizen of the Year Award exists. For six decades it was bestowed by the Packet and Times. In 2017 when the Packet closed, this publication and other former Packet staff now with Orillia Matters helped (read implored) City Hall to take over the tradition until such time as stewardship could return to one of the new media outlets.
Under the City’s wing, Gill Tillmann received the award in January 2018; Michael Gordon was awarded in 2019; Stan Mathewson in 2020 and Fred Larsen in 2021. Other past recipients include Leslie Fournier, Gini Stringer, Doug Lewis, Colin Wackett and Marg Schreurs.
Who receives the award at the next council meeting in January could be in your hands. Nominations are being accepted until noon, January 6. You can submit a nomination online, or pick up and drop off a form at the main floor desk at City Hall. Anonymous nominations are not accepted.
Nominees can live in Orillia, any of the surrounding townships or Rama. It is not a lifetime achievement award and nominations should be for outstanding contributions in the year 2021, though past history can be used to support the main qualifier. Because it is a volunteer recognition, professional or employment activities, even though they may have had significant effect on the community are not a factor.
The judging committee is past recipients Michael Gordon, Fred Larsen, Stan Mathewson and Gill Tillmann, as well as Pure Country 106’s Carey Moran, Orillia Today’s Frank Matys, and Heather Breckles president of the Kiwanis Club of Orillia. Mayor Steve Clarke, also a past recipient, is the non-voting chair of the committee.
(Photos by Swartz – SUNonline/Orillia)