(May 7, 2006)
The Fallingbrook Community Association honoured some of the people who help make the community such a great place to live last night during their annual Volunteer Recognition Awards at the Ray Friel Recreation Complex.
The awards were hosted by FCA president Zybina Richards who was herself a recipient, when the rest of the community association executive surprised her with the Long Term Service Award.
Richards is the association's longest serving president, having held the position since 2000. Since that time she has been instrumental in keeping the FCA focused on representing the interests of the community's residents.
As a long time member of the FCA she also played an integral role in helping to organize the Fallingbrook Canada Day Celebration from its infancy when it was first held in the Apollo Way "crater" in 1988 to its final year in 2003 when over 24,000 people attended the event.
A shocked Richards was almost moved to tears when the award was announced by fellow FCA executive member David Villeneuve.
"I can't believe this. I like to volunteer. I like to give of myself, but I can't do it without these guys," Richards said, referring to the other executive members. "The support and the love and the friendship they've provided me has been unreal. I couldn't ask to be part of a better team."
The first award of the evening was handed out to 4th Orléans Scout leader Kelly Grant who helped organize the troop's volunteer efforts at last year's Greater Orléans Canada Day Celebration on Petrie Island. Besides operating a concession stand, they helped clean up the beach the next day.
This year's Girl Guides Junior Leader Award was given to 16-year-old Alexandra Gayle who has been a junior leader with the 50th Orléans Sparks in Fallingbrook for the past two years. Besides helping out during the Sparks meetings, Gayle also coaches Little League baseball.
The English Catholic School recipient was Meredith Vrbanac who's been volunteering at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic School for the past four years. Three of her children have already been through the school and she still has a daughter in Grade 2.
Besides all the volunteer work she does during normal school hours, she's the Parish Council rep on the school council and she helps prepare the kids for their the various Catholic sacraments such as Confirmation and first Communion.
This year the association gave out two Youth Achievement Awards. The first one went to 15-year-old Andrew Both who organized last year's highly successful Charity Classic Golf Tournament that raised over $18,000 for a variety of worthy causes.
Both was introduced for the award by his brother Bradley who first started the tournament in 2004 before handing over the reins to his sister Katie and then Andrew. In five years the tournament has raised more than $83,000.
The second Youth Achievement Award recipient was 11-year-old Alex Lacasse. The accomplished young singer has done countless performances at charity functions, fundraising efforts and a number of seniors residences and convalescent homes. Last fall, he was among 24 young people honoured at the Orleans Online Outstanding Youth Awards.
Other Volunteer Recognition Awards recipients included Stephanie Cappelli who received a Community Service Award for her work behind the scenes at FCA; Catherine Doyle received the Girl Guide volunteer award and Jamie Sheldrick and Marc Coderre were recognized for their dedication in maintaining the community's outdoor rinks this year.
Richards also took time to thank the staff at the Tenth Line Piazza restaurant in the Ray Friel Complex who provided space for the awards at the last minute.
The awards were attended by local city councillors Rob Jellett and Bob Monette, Ottawa-Orléans MPP Phil McNeely and Philip Berthiaume who was there representing local MP Royal Galipeau. The four men took turns handing out the awards to the various recipients.
This years Fallingbrook Community Association Volunteer Recognition Awards went to (l to r) Andrew Both, Zybina Richards, Stephanie Cappelli, Alex Lacasse, Catherine Doyle, Meredith Vrbanac, Kelly Grant and Alexandra Gayle. Fred Sherwin/Photo