Senior of the year

Suburbs

Congratulations to Sue Morgan, Kitchener's 2020 Senior of the Year!

Once again, the City of Kitchener was very proud to celebrate the remarkable community contributions of each of their Senior of the Year Award nominees. Although a large public gathering wasn’t possible this year, we celebrated  the achievements of each nominee and the recipient by arranging a doorstep visit at their home from a volunteer member of the award committee and a representative of the Office of the Mayor and Council to present them with a recognition certificate signed by Mayor Berry Vrbanovic, a gift basket from our sponsor (The Village of Winston Park) and a celebratory lawn sign to let neighbours know it's the home of a Kitchener Senior of the Year Award nominee!

Please join us in congratulating each of the 2020 nominees!  For a bio of each nominee and their community contributions please see below.

Nominations for Kitchener's Senior of the Year Award are accepted year-round.  To be eligible for the current year's award, nominations must be submitted by March 31.  Nominations submitted after this date will be held in consideration for the following year's Senior of the Year Award.

The provincial Senior of the Year Award gives each municipality in Ontario the opportunity to honour one outstanding citizen who over the age of 65 has enriched the social, cultural or civic life of their community. Additional criteria are below.

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2020 Kitchener Senior of the Year Award Nominees 

Sue Morgan - 2020 Award Recipient

Nearly every resident in Kitchener has likely been touched in some way by a project or initiative Sue has lent her volunteer support to over the past 20 plus years.  As a passionate community builder, Sue’s volunteer reach has extended to several board member positions with local organizations such as the Independent Living Centre, Centre in the Square, United Way, Kitchener Public Library, the Grand River Accessibility Advisory Committee, Older adults’ Centers Association of Ontario, Mayor’s Advisory Council or Kitchener Seniors and the Region of Waterloo’s Seniors Services Strategy committee, just to name a few.

As an older adult and a person living with a disability, Sue has been a tremendous role model and advocate for others in the community.  Her leadership over many years has ensured direct services for those living with a disability through her involvement with the Independent Living Centre, including her years as chairperson, as well as in her role as chairperson of Grand River Transit’s Specialized Transit Services Committee.

Sue is the kind of person who radiates positivity.  Others are naturally drawn to Sue by her quick wit, genuine warmth, and ever-present smile.  By generously sharing her experience, knowledge and extensive network of community contacts and leaders, Sue is a shining example of how one person’s efforts can enhance the quality of life for countless others in the community.                     

David Edgeworth

Dave has been a resident and board member of his 110 unit condo building for the past 6 years. As a resident he is a compassionate and kind neighbour who is always willing to help others out. No task is to big of small for Dave to tackle.  In turn the appreciation for his kindness shows in how residents interact with the upmost respect.  as a condo board member, Dave spends countless hours researching details on potential projects to benefit the building. He is highly organized and keeps all project files handy in his computer and available at the touch of a button.  Dave is devoted to his family and holds a special place in his heart for his granddaughter.  He loves to golf in the community and has reached out in many ways to help in that field.  

Dave is a very social person with a great sense of humour and can be the life of any party.  The residents of Dave's condo would like to thank him and wish that every person in the community would live like Dave as the world would be a better place.

 Jessie Maniatacos
 Jessie is has volunteered at St. Mary's hospital for years.  Currently she volunteers for the Canadian Cancer Society at the Grand River Hospital.  As a chemotherapy suite volunteer, Jessie shows extreme kindness and empathy.  She is described as a role model because as someone who lost her husband to a long battle with cancer, Jessie demonstrates tremendous kindness while being in an environment which could be emotionally challenging for her.  Jessie has experienced some difficult challenges and losses in her life and continues to be incredibly kind, encouraging and empathetic.  A cancer patient describes that Jessie "has been so amazingly supportive throughout my journey".  
Lilian Mikuljan
Lilian is often found out and about helping others and is described as the most caring, loving and giving woman. As her nominator describes, when she moved back to Canada after being away for many years and upon her arrival found out she was pregnant, Lilian jumped right in to help. Lilian provided transportation to appointments, assisted with furniture donations, and provided the love of a mother during an overwhelming time. Lilian often receives donations, assuring they go to those in need.  As a retired teacher, Lilian is still loved, remembered and cherished by those she taught years ago. She is an inspiration for the joy she brings to others in need and those experiencing difficult times, such as grief. As someone who selflessly gives so much of her time to others, Lilian has helped and support countless people in the community. 
 Bill Proctor
Bill is described as "a perfect example of someone who is a senior, yet lives his life fully and positively and is aware of the needs of others around him and is only too willing to help to make their days better as well". As a retired teacher, education consultant and principal, Bill continues to touch the lives of hundreds of students through his volunteer work as a key organizer of the Waterloo-Wellington Regional Science and Engineering Fair. He is also a volunteer and instructor for the Waterloo Wellington Children's Groundwater Festival, an event where 5,000 grade 2-5 students and 500 high school students participate in hands on activities throughout the course of a week.  In addition to supporting education, Bill has tirelessly kept many aspects of the Rotary Club of Kitchener running for year. He has held several roles including:  Past President, Chair of the Rotary Youth Exchange Program, District Registrar, Club Secretary, Chair of the 100th Anniversary Committee, Chair of the Meeting and Membership Support Committee, Rotary District Training Committee (providing training for incoming Rotary Club Presidents), and Club and District Governor for the local Rotary district - a very high honour that recognizes leadership abilities.  Bill also assists Elections Ontario, serving as a trainer and Returning Officer for Kitchener-Conestoga as well as serving as a Training Officer for the last Federal Election.  Both the May Court Club of Kitchener-Waterloo and the Heart and Stroke Foundation are also organizations Bill has generously supported for many years as a volunteer fundraiser. He is known for having the attributes of a great leader, while also possessing all the skills of a wonderful team member. Is has been said that "when Bill in involved in a project, others join in because they know the project will involve learning and hard work, a great deal of fun and camaraderie, and good outcomes for the entire community".
 Judy Richardson
 Judy is described as a huge contributor to the work of the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC). She has volunteered for the past 5 years as a volunteer with Thrift on Kent on the retail floor serving 3 days a week. Through Judy's openness to share about the work of MCC, she has helped make this connection for customers.  Judy's nominator describes that it is incredible when a volunteer like Judy can advocate and share all the amazing work to which she is contributing. She is diligent in cleaning and organizing many of the different items displayed and sold in the store.  When Judy sees a concern in the store, she not only shares it with leaders, but also presents it with a solution in mind.  She is passionate about serving customers and has recently taken on an extra leadership role as a volunteer mentor.  In this role Judy works with new volunteers by training them and providing an orientation to the retail space.  She goes above and beyond to make new volunteers feel welcomed by introducing them to other volunteers, inviting them to join in on the communal break time, and integrating them into the community life at Thrift on Kent.  She demonstrates tremendous patience with training and handles difficult situations with grace.  Judy is described as such a pleasure to work with and as a dedicated volunteer who can always be relied on.  With over 330 volunteers at Thrift on Kent, Judy stands out as one who has accomplished so much, Thrift on Kent would not be the same without Judy.
 Pam Ritz
 Pam has been a dedicated community volunteer for many years.  In addition to being a member and current President of her Condo Board, she has also served as a board member on the Family Council at a long-term care facility.  As a passionate advocate for seniors, her volunteer work at the residence inspired a staff person years later to reach out to Pam to work on the City of Kitchener's Age-Friendly Steering Committee.  On this committee, Pam assisted in developing a vision, acted as a facilitator and M.C. at community consultation sessions, and helped analyze community feedback towards the development of the final Action Plan approved by City Council in 2017. As a result of this work, Pam soon after became involved as a member and 1st Vice-Chair of the Mayor's Advisory Council for Kitchener Seniors (MACKS), helping to develop the first ever Living Well Expo, and serving as a member of the Senior of the Year planning committee.  Pam has also been an instrumental volunteer leader with the Doon Pioneer Park Community Association (DPPCA).  Pam's first role was as Secretary in 2009. In 2012, she was elected President of the DPPCA Board of Directors and continues to hold that position today.  In 2017, plans were approved to expand the Doon Pioneer Park Community Centre where most of the DPPCA's neighbourhood programs take place.  Pam was recruited to the Expansion Steering Committee to work with City staff, architects, project managers, and fellow volunteers to help guide and provide valuable input into the expansion of the Centre. Her determination in seeing the Doon expansion through, despite the many challenges has inspired others and earned the respect of her peers.  Pam is often sought out for committees and is frequently asked to speak at Council on behalf of DCCCA. She is always interested in statistics related to the community and how they may guide her work.  Pam has identified community needs and has often started programs from scratch to make things better for others.  Pam has worked with the Southwest Optimist Group local schools - including Conestoga College, as well as retirement homes and churches to help them overcome obstacles to serving the Doon community, by creating opportunities for special events, programs and services. Pam is a volunteer who wants no other reward for her work than the personal satisfaction that she has made a positive contribution to her community. Pam's hard work and dedication have made a lasting impact on her peers and her community.
 Patrick Rooth
 Patrick has been a volunteer with the AIDS Committee of Cambridge, Kitchener, Waterloo & Area (ACCKWA) since 1995. He has had many roles supporting those living with HIV as a peer.  Patrick is well known in the community and plays an active role in ensuring ACCKWA is known to those who need the organization's services and supports, and is equally adept at finding resources for the organization.  When a new location was needed, Patrick searched out a new office space in Kitchener through community connections on his own time. His work made it possible for ACCKWA to have the best and most accessible space the organization has ever had. Patrick also sits on ACCKWA's Turning To One Another Working Group, and along with his peers, develops programs and activities that are needed for this community. He is always the first to show up at an event to help set up and do all the "grunt" work too.  The support Pat provides to his peers creates a safe and comfortable place for others to gather and know they are not alone.  His long, active history at ACCKWA is inspiring to other volunteers.  Through Patrick's positive attitude and outlook, he gives strength to other people living with HIV, especially the newly diagnosed. Patrick is described as someone who "has endless energy and gives his heart and soul to the agency and all it's people". 
 Eleanor Ross
 Eleanor was a manager of the Waterloo region distribution centre for Operation Christmas Child (OCC) which sends shoe boxes filled with gifts to children around the world.  For 22 years she would direct the 7000 plus volunteers over a 3 week period to set up, receive, inspect and prepare for shipping the shoe boxes from Central and Eastern Canada.  In 2019, OCC Canada sent 490,472 shoe boxes to 8 different countries.  Year round Eleanor would receive donations at her home and even pick up donations on vacation. For over 20 years, Eleanor has led the Creating Smiles Changing Hearts group to sew items weekly for orphanages and to add items to the shoe boxes. Under Eleanor's leadership, volunteers happily came together to sew, knit, prepare jobs, train and instruct, repair sewing machines, cut out and design children's clothing, make craft kits and activities for children.  Eleanor was also instrumental in finding new locations for the group as they grew in membership. Not only does the group support OCC, but through Eleanor's many connections built over years of helping others, they are able to support other charities such as Canadian Food for Children and the Mennonite Central Committee.  In addition to this work, Eleanor is also a team leader at her church, River of Life.  Eleanor has a listening heart if someone is having a difficult day and will always take the time to help with prayers and encouragement. She is described as "an amazing leader, organizer, record keeper, spiritual mentor and has wonderful sense of humour". 
 Gehan Sabry
 For decades, Gehan has tirelessly served the community of Kitchener as a journalist, broadcaster, community builder, and advocate. Many in the community will know Gehan as the organizer of the annual UN Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination celebrated at Kitchener City Hall for over 20 years.  Through the Coalition of Concerned Citizens, Gehan has responded to racial incidents in Waterloo Region.  She hosts two radio shows, one by the same name as her magazine Cross Cultures, and one in Arabic called Mashrabeya.  Over the course of many years, Gehan has also lent her voice to many initiatives and organizations in the community including: the Waterloo Region District School Board's Equity & Inclusion Advisory Group, Audit Report on Equity and the Equity Action coalition; the Region of Waterloo's Multicultural Prenatal Health Fair committee; YWCA Interfaith Committee; Sacred World Music Festival committee; Waterloo Region Catholic School Board Race Religious and Ethno-Cultural Equity Advisory Committee; Mayor's Advisory Council for Kitchener Seniors; Waterloo Region's Holocaust Education Committee; Advisory Panel of Women in Business & Industry; Business Women in Networking member; Promotions and Public Relations Chairperson for the Doon Pioneer Park Community Association; ESL Tutor for KW Literacy Council; and host for many Cross Cultures special events including the Hero Gala where everyone in attendance is recognized as a hero for what they personally contribute.  Gehan is a passionate advocate for mutual respect and is frequently sought out as an invited speaker and panelist. Because of Gehan's demonstrated commitment to diversity, many individuals and groups now have a better understanding of different cultures and are practicing mutual respect regardless of their own personal beliefs.
 Dr. John Tibbits

The longest serving president of a public post-secondary institution in Canada (Conestoga College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning), Dr. Tibbits has been the vision and guiding force behind the transformation of a small community college into a national leader for polytechnic education. Dr. Tibbits joined Conestoga College when it was facing major financial issues and showed us that, with hard work and brave vision, most difficulties can be overcome. Through the efforts of Dr. Tibbits and his team, several programs were offered to eligible students free of charge, including Women in Trades, Women in STEM, free pre-apprenticeship programs, and more. He has overseen the academic journey of more than 125,000 graduates, welcoming them to the college upon their arrival, and congratulating them at Convocation upon the completion of their studies. Dr. Tibbits has supported many industry and community organizations including: Canada’s Technology Triangle; Polytechnics Canada; Cambridge Chamber of Commerce; Cambridge-North Dumfries Hydro; Skills Canada-Ontario; Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce and Communitech. Despite being over 75 years old, he is an avid tennis player and has won national championships in the last few years. He plays six or eight tournaments a summer against retired tennis professionals and makes sure that his 50+-hour job does not stop him from being active and taking care of his health. This is an inspiration to those half his age. Dr. Tibbits is a passionate advocate for applied learning and accessible, career-focused education that builds community prosperity, supports business growth and competitiveness, and provides opportunities for individuals from all backgrounds and circumstances to achieve their potential.

 

Senior of the Year Award information

Criteria for award nominations

Nominees must meet the following criteria:

  • 65 years of age or older
  • Current resident of Kitchener
  • Not a previous recipient of award or current member of the Mayor's Advisory Council for Kitchener Seniors (MACKS)
  • Individuals may be nominated (couples or groups are not eligible)
  • Candidate must give permission to be nominated and agree to submission information.
Nomination Process

Complete a submission online, print the nomination form here, or pick up a nomination form at any City of Kitchener Community Centre.

Deadline for the 2021 Award is March 31st.

Nominations submitted after this date will be held in consideration for the 2022 Award.

Selection Process
Nominations will be reviewed by a selection panel comprised of volunteers from the Mayor's Advisory Council for Kitchener Seniors (MACKS), City of Kitchener Council members and staff, and a representative from the Volunteer Action Centre of K-W.
Award Ceremony

The Award ceremony originally scheduled for June 9th, 2020 has been cancelled.

Subscribe to this page below for information regarding the 2021 award and ceremony.

Contact Us

For additional information on Kitchener's Senior of the Year Award, please contact:

Carolyn Cormier 519-741-2200 x 5345 or carolyn.cormier@kitchener.ca


 

 


 

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