Anti-violence activist in Halifax hopeful one year after gun-related homicides
Almost one year after a single week of gun violence took the lives of three young black men, a local anti-violence activist believes there’s reason for optimism.
Each year, communities across Canada celebrate National Volunteer week to thank and honour our people who donate their time to help others. The following are Pictou County's volunteers chosen from the six municipal units in the county.
Municipality of Pictou County
Lorraine Blakeney will be the representative volunteer, for the Municipality of Pictou County at the 2014 Provincial Volunteer reception.
Lorraine has been a volunteer with the MacPherson's Mills Women's Institute for more than 20 years, holding most positions including president, secretary, and now treasurer for the Pictou District Women's Institute. Every year, she organizes the Clean up Day for the Adopt-A-Highway program in the MacPherson's Mills area for the Women's Institute, and can be found picking up garbage and providing food for the other volunteer following the clean-up. She also looks after the Institute's book awards for the Thorburn Consolidated School and each year volunteers her time to judge exhibits at the Pictou North Colchester Exhibition.
Lorraine is the secretary of the MacPherson's Mills Hall committee and co-ordinates the annual turkey supper held in the community centre. Her talents range from shopping for turkeys, cooking the meal, providing preserves, baking pies and making sure the hall is cleaned before and after the event.
Well known for her "melt-in-your-mouth" biscuits, attendees at the weekly Friday card parties look forward to her tasty treats.
Lorraine has been a volunteer captain for the Heart and Stroke Association of Nova Scotia and a canvasser for more than 15 years. She has been the book keeper at St. Ann's Catholic Church for more than 30 years, as well as being involved with ministries in the church including lector, choir member, collection counter, parish council and treasurer. For more than 20 years, she has been a Catholic Women's League member in Thorburn and has held all executive positions including being the Regional Convener for Pictou Deanery for the Antigonish Diocesan Catholic Women's League.
Other organizations benefiting from her tireless efforts include the Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign, the Shepherd's Lunchroom, Dragon Boat fundraiser in support of breast cancer and the Palliative Care unit at The Aberdeen Hospital. She has served as a volunteer driver for New Hope, a program under the Pictou County Mental Health Authority and before retirement, Lorraine volunteered with the Employee Assistance Program at her workplace.
Lorraine is always willing to help out in any way possible and always with a smile. She is wonderfully generous with her time and talents and she is a very valuable member of the community and of our county.
The Muncipality of Pictou County takes great pride in their selection of Lorraine Blakeney to represent the Municipality of Pictou County for recognition during the 2014 Provincial Volunteer Week activities.
The Town of Pictou is very proud to have Fred Dobson as their 2014 Volunteer of the Year.
For 46 years Fred has been involved with soccer at all levels from minor boys and girls to college. He was a referee, an assessor and served on the Soccer Nova Scotia Judiciary Committee. He coached minor hockey and also played locally in his childhood. He is committed to helping our community become a better place to live. He is a member of the Knights of Columbus in Pictou and has volunteered many hours on projects involving community.
Recently Fred had put more than 1,000 volunteer hours on renovations to the Stella Maris Hall. Fred can always be depended upon to assist wherever he can and willingly gives of himself to our community. Pictou is honored to recognize Fred as our community's Volunteer of the Year.
The Pictou Volunteer Reception is an annual event the Town hosts each year at the deCoste Centre where many of the volunteer organizations in Town attend for an evening of entertainment, refreshments and a guest speaker presentation.
For more information on how you can become a volunteer and get involved in your community, visit the Town's website at www.townofpictou.ca or call Pictou Recreation and Parks at 485-4372.
Barry Trenholm has been a community leader in Trenton and Pictou County for most of his life. As a lifelong sports enthusiast Barry took on various volunteer roles including coach, manager, league executive and official through hockey and ball. He served on the Board for the Abercrombie Golf and Country Club and ran their junior golf program for two years. Barry was a longterm volunteer and supporter for the annual Joe Earle Victoria Day Road Races taking on any role that was asked of him.
These days, you are most likely to find Barry at the Pictou County Sports Heritage Hall of Fame which he has been involved with for its 25-year existence. Barry's roles include board member, curator, fundraiser, induction ceremonies organizer, artifacts collector and tour guide. Barry does all of the hands-on works such as cataloguing historical data, arranging displays, and sorting the vast array of photos.
Barry is more than just sports. His other community involvement include four years as a town councillor followed by 16 years as Trenton's mayor, the longest consecutive number of years for any Mayor in the Town's history. He served on the Aberdeen Hospital Board for several years, and also on the board for Glen Haven Manor, a longterm home for seniors. He was chairman of the Pictou County District Development Commission along with Chairman of the School Board.
Additionally, Barry has volunteered for Christmas Daddys, Big Brothers Big Sisters, United Way and the Joe Earle Road Races. Barry was a leader with the Trenton Rink building committee in the 1970s and with the refurbishing committee some 25 years later. Barry was also instrumental in the establishment of the Trenton Heritage Centre in 2011.
He, as with so many volunteers in their own home Towns and throughout the province seem to lack the word "no" in their vocabularies when it comes to someone else's needs.
Barry's favourite profile of a volunteer has always been ones who perform those random acts of kindness that are un-chronicled and known only to themselves and the recipient.
This year, New Glasgow is proud to select Craig Smith as its volunteer of the year and as its representative at the provincial volunteer event.
Craig generously donates two to three hours a week to the Pictou County Special Olympics; a group offering individuals with an intellectual disability the opportunity to make friends, take on new challenges and compete in sport programs. Like most volunteers, he shies away from recognition but never says no when called upon to help organizations in the community. He is always looking for ways the athletes can help give back to the community.
This former provincial Special Olympics board member (1994-98) has been fundraising co-chair and sponsorship committee chairperson. He makes time to help athletes with the local Kinsmen and Kinette Clubs connection and provides a crew to handle the pizza/pop tent at the Pictou County Dragon boat Festival.
The Town of New Glasgow gratefully acknowledges the contribution of Craig Smith in his support for Special Olympians.
Lawrence and Carol MacNeil
The Town of Westville is proud to present Lawrence and Carol MacNeil as its 2014 Representative Volunteers.
Lawrence is well known in Pictou County as "Babs" and was a founding member and Chairman of the Westville Rink Commission, and instrumental in the construction of the Westville & Area Miners' Sports Centre. It was through the efforts of he and other dedicated volunteers (including his wife, Carol) that the arena was built for local residents. "Babs" and his fellow Rink Commission members established the Westville Rink Building Fund, financially supported the project and raised money for construction of the rink. They campaigned throughout town, hosted walkathons and monthly dances, worked in the canteen, coached; did whatever they had to do to make the rink a success! Mr. MacNeil was the coach who helped the Nova Scotia Juvenile Champs win their title in 1978, and was both Vice-President and one of the organizers of minor hockey in Westville. In 2002, the Westville Rink Commission recognized Lawrence by presenting him with a plaque for his dedication to the rink. Mr. MacNeil is also a member of the Westville Legion, where he assists with their Poppy Campaign, and for a number of years he assisted the Westville Fire Department with their Canada Day celebrations by selling admission tickets to the park. Mr. MacNeil was also a founding member and served as an executive member for the Pictou County Sports Hall of Fame.
The MacNeils have been members of the Holy Name Catholic Church in Westville for the past 53 years. Lawrence was a member of the Men's Club, served on a number of occasions as Eucharistic Minister, and assisted with hospitality, ushering and taking the offering. Carol is a member of the CWL where she served as president for two years, and participates in CWL services like hosting funeral receptions, card parties and visits to seniors' homes, World Day of Prayer and other ecumenical services, and providing the Shepherd's Lunch Room. As a member of the Holy Name Quilters Group, she quilts every Tuesday and the money raised from the projects goes to the church and charities. Carol is also a member of the Thistle Quilt Guild where members socialize and combine their talents to make quilts and pillow cases for groups like the Tearman House, Roots for Youth and hospitals to provide to children and veterans.
Carol was an active member of the Aberdeen Alumnae Association, where she served as treasurer for a number of years and continues to assist with decorating and making gold caps for presentation to nursing graduates celebrating 50 years in nursing for their annual celebration. She was chairperson for the Diabetes Association collection in Westville and has collected for the Heart & Stroke Foundation. As a member of the Westville Heritage Group, she assists with organizing activities and is on the Telephone Committee. Carol was instrumental in organizing exercise classes for seniors through the YMCA and Westville Recreation, a program which continues to engage seniors and provide an opportunity to enhance their physical, mental and social well-being. In 2009, Carol received a Peace Medal from the YMCA for her work in promoting health and wellness in the community. As a retired nurse, Carol is well aware of the importance of physical activity in our daily lives and leads by example, encouraging other residents to participate in a daily walking group regardless of the weather. She is a kind, compassionate individual and an active member of the community.
Both Lawrence and Carol have always been willing to lend a helping hand and have been supporting their community for more than 50 years.
The mayor, council and citizens of the Town of Westville are proud to have Lawrence and Carol MacNeil represent us as our 2014 Representative Volunteers. Their volunteer contributions in our Town and throughout Pictou County are commendable, and we thank them for their dedication to our community.
The town of Stellarton is proud to have Rod Buell as its volunteer of the year.
Over the past 45 years, Roddie has volunteered his services and time to many organizations in Stellarton and Pictou County.
He has helped with Canadian Blood Services, the local Coats for Kids Program and is a life member to both Lion's Club International and the Stellarton Fire Department. In the community, Roddie is always ready to help out by providing food or drink to community activities, assisting seniors and those with low income by providing minor house repairs and is a block parent.
His selflessness and generosity also shines with his volunteerism as he donated his winning 50/50 ticket to Stellarton RCAF branch.
Last year, he was presented with a lifetime membership to the Lion's Club for his 40 years of service to that organizations and his contributions to the community.