Mayor Bradley honours Sarnians who made a difference in 2017

Journal Staff

They span the fields of sports, politics, history and business, and they work with the young, the difficult and the downtrodden.

But a unifying thread connects the 23 individuals and organizations named to Mayor Mike Bradley’s Honour List for 2017 – their desire to make Sarnia a better place.

“Helen Keller said it best: ‘Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much,’” Bradley said.

The recipients on the 35th Honour List are:

JAN ALLARDYCE

A dedicated and long-time member of the Sarnia Sports Hall of Fame, Allardyce works hard to preserve Sarnia-Lambton’s sport’s history and is one of the key organizers of the annual Sarnia Lambton Sports Hall of Fame dinner.

ASHES PROJECT – (Jaggi Singh, Tom Wolfe, Ashvin Thakkar, Raj Barchha)

Jaggi Singh

For their effort to bring about a designated location for the scattering of loved one’s remains. The group’s hard work and dedication helped raise more than $24,000, and an area of The Point Lands became the designated area. Work will begin shortly on a gazebo and benches for loved ones to gather.

PARDIS BAHA

Sarnia native Pardis Baha created the Lambton Youth Jazz Orchestra in 2010, and is currently completing a Master’s degree in clinical anatomy at Western University. What began as a small group quickly gained members as Baha reached out to high school music teachers. Pardis recognizes students have many different skill levels and helps those struggling through difficult spots, often arriving early and leaving late, and doing so as a full-time student commuting to London. A free community concert is held at the Sarnia Public Library in August.

“BECAUSE I’M A GIRL” – Raveen Duggal, Diya Duggal, Ally Campbell, Amelia Glazier

This special group of girls works hard to help others less fortunate through Plan International Canada’s “Because I’m a Girl” initiative. Raveena Duggal (10), Diya Duggal (7), Ally Campbell (10) and Amelia Glazier (11) have organized various fundraising activities. At Cathcart Boulevard School they sold baked goods, popcorn and more than 200 “mystery” bags filled with donated toys. They’ve raised nearly $15,000 and even made a pitch to the “Awesome Project” for funding.

ANDY BRANDT

For his ongoing support, dedication and commitment to Sarnia through his many leadership, fundraising and community activities. Brandt serves as chair of the Lambton College Foundation and has led the Envision Tomorrow Campaign efforts to develop two new world-class facilities at Lambton College—the $30-million Nova Chemicals Health and Research Centre, and the $12-million Athletics and Fitness Complex.

MELISSA CHONG

Melissa Chong

Melissa followed up on an idea from father Bill Chong and asked Sarnians to help support the Canadian Armed Forces at Christmas by sending personal message on cards depicting local winter scenes. More than 7,000 cards were printed, signed and mailed overseas. Jeff Day, Deputy Commander of the Joint Task Force stationed in Ukraine, sent a personal thanks on behalf of the troops. “It really felt like we were opening cards from friends and family, and it was a wonderful reminder of home,” he wrote.

PRISCILLA GAGNE

Gagne won a gold medal at the Para-Panamerican Judo Championships in Sao Paolo, Brazil. It was her first gold medal in international competition, having won Silver at the Para-Pan Am games in Toronto in 2015. Gagne, who has retinitis pigmentosa, was born in Quebec and moved to Sarnia at a very young age. She attended King George School, a high school for the blind in Brantford, and returned to Sarnia to graduate from St. Patrick’s High. She currently lives and trains full-time in Montreal.

ROY HARE

A Veteran of the Second World War, Hare travelled to France in August to attend the 75th Anniversary of the Dieppe Raid. He went with a delegation representing the Essex Scottish, the regiment he joined in 1944 as an anti-tank gunner. He spent 57 days in a prisoner of war camp. Mr. Hare came to Sarnia following the war, married a girl he met at Camp Ipperwash, and retired over 30 years ago as a plumber. In 2016 he received the National Order of the Legion of Honour from France.

KERRY HORAN

Horan goes above and beyond to make sure veterans in Sarnia are honoured at Sarnia Sting Veterans Way games, held every third Friday hockey game. He is a strong advocate for veterans and volunteers his time throughout the area in military parades and by supporting and working with Cadets.

TERRY MACDONALD

Macdonald is one of those people who make a difference ever day without ever accepting recognition. He routinely helps everyone, volunteers seven day a week at the Humane Society, and volunteers regularly at Bluewater Health, Inn of the Good Shepherd and All Saint’s Church. He energy and positive outlook is infectious and rubs off on others.

KEVIN McHARG

The retired firefighter spent countless hours helping research the book written by Phil Egan, “Walking Through Fire.” Egan said many people helped but the book wouldn’t have been possible without him. “From the earliest days of researching the book right up until the book went to press, Kevin was trying to find ways to improve the final product,” he said.

IAN MCLEAN

McLean is a local oil painter who has exhibited at a number of solo and group exhibitions including Sarnia, Toronto and Kelowna, B.C. His paintings hang in private and corporate collections across Canada and in the U.S., United Kingdom and Australia.

NOELLE’S GIFT

Following the tragic death five years ago of Noelle Paquette, her family continued to do what Noelle always did — help young people. Noelle’s Gift was formed, and through fundraisers such as Noelle’s Gift of Fitness, Noelle’s Gift of Golf, Light Up the Night for Noelle and other events, the charity has raised $1 million. It supports students in need at the St. Clair Catholic and Lambton Kent District school boards, Big Brothers, Big Sisters, Huron House Boy’s Home, the Children’s Aid Society and St. Clair Child and Youth.+ “From one of the darkest moments in Sarnia’s history emerged a shining light of hope and optimism called Noelle’s Gift.”

GERALDINE ROBERTSON

Geraldine Robertson

As young girl in the 1940s, Robertson was one of many indigenous children in Canada removed from their homes and sent to residential schools. She spent a year at Mount Elgin near London, but when the school was closed she returned home for one year. During this time, her father passed away and her mother was sent to hospital suffering from tuberculosis. At the age of 11, she was shipped to Mohawk Institute in Brantford. Later in life, she began to speak publicly about her experiences and became active in programs offered at the Aamjiwnaang First Nation. She researched names for a plaque honouring 161 residential school survivors from Aamjiwnaang and was nominated in 2017 for the Order of Ontario.

JOHN ROCHON

John Rochon

Rochon has served the community as an historian who generously shares his knowledge. He is a strong advocate for preserving Sarnia’s historical buildings, using old photos to make the case for preservation. He has been a valuable resource to the Heritage Committee and is responsible for providing many historical photographs to educate the community.

JOHN ROZEMA

John Rozema

Rozema is a long-time Sarnia resident and very active in the community. He sits on the board of Sarnia Lambton Kent Goodwill Industries and is involved in many charitable organizations. Rozema provides the community with employment through his many businesses. Many children and grandchildren of his employees have received scholarships that enabled them to pursue their ambitions in the health-care field.

JOE SALVATORE

Joe is an original member of the LACAC, now the Sarnia Heritage Committee, formed in 1983 by the late Mayor Marceil Saddy. He has quietly works hard, often behind the scenes, and is a valued Committee member who has restored and preserved a number of key downtown buildings.

SARNIA BRAVES

The Sarnia Braves were the 2017 Southwestern Ontario Senior Baseball League Champions with a season record of 39 wins and three losses. Led by manager James Grant, the team won its third straight Michigan Cup. Twenty of the 23 members made their way up through the Sarnia Braves minor baseball system.

SARNIA MINOR ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION

The year 2017 marked the 70th anniversary of the SMAA, a non-profit operated entirely by volunteers and supporting sponsors. In 1947, volunteers decided to combine efforts and form the SMAA. Over the years, it has provided 5-pin bowling, football, girl’s fastball, hockey, soccer, softball and other sports. In 2017, the operating budget for six sports plus concessions was $342,000, compared to $1,000 for six sports in 1947. Football has a new field at Norm Perry Park and boy’s baseball has grown steadily over the past decade.

ANN STIRLING (POSTHUMOUSLY)

Stirling was a model, union organizer, chef, restaurant owner and caterer, but to Sarnians she was known for her dedication to the arts. Ann was a co-founder and fundraiser of Art Walk and First Friday, Art Under Glass, and numerous other events. She served as Executive Director of the Lawrence House Centre for the Arts and was a keen supporter of revitalizing the downtown. She worked with Aamjiwnaang First Nation youth to participate in the arts and produced “Crudementary Tales” a parody of Lambton County’s oil history. Sarnia’s vibrant arts community is due, in large part, to Ann’s creativity and dedication.

LEE ANN SYMINGTON

Symington started “Cat Chance,” a spay-neuter-return program that has removed hundreds of stray cats from the street. The group also makes cat shelters during winter months. She receives no money from the city, and relies on donations, fundraising campaigns and many volunteers to help animals.

DAN WHITE

The high school teacher retired in 2017 after 29 years at SCITS, where he was director of the SCITS Revue and Alumni Revue. Each year the school’s drama students perform skits, songs and comedic numbers together with students from the music department, English department, sports, shop and tech programs. He directed nearly 100 performances at SCITS including plays, improvisation Shakespeare and dinner theatre, some of his students now work as actors and lighting or sound technicians. Last year’ Alumni Revue attracted former students from across North America.

NELLO ZEPPA

Zeppa is an Italian Immigrant (1962) who has never forgotten his roots. He quietly helps immigrants fill out government forms for WSIB, Pension, Employment Insurance and countless other municipal, provincial and federal forms. He was one of the main drivers for the development of the Serenity Garden at Marshall Gowland Manor and personally sponsors a scholarship at St. Pat’s each year.