The provincial Senior of the Year Award gives us the opportunity to honour one outstanding citizen who over the age of 65 has enriched the social, cultural or civic life of their community. You can find more criteria below.

On this page:

  1. Nominate a senior
  2. Nomination criteria
  3. Recognition activities
  4. 2022 Senior of the Year nominees

Nominate a senior

Nominations for the 2022 Senior of Year award are closed. Subscribe to this page to get an email when we add information for 2023.


Nomination criteria

Nominees must:

  • be 65 years of age or older
  • be a current resident of Kitchener
  • not be a current member of the Mayor's Advisory Council for Kitchener Seniors (MACKS)
  • be an individual (you cannot nominate couples or groups)
  • give permission to be nominated and agree to submission information

Selection process

Nominations will be reviewed by a panel made up of:

  • volunteers from the Mayor's Advisory Council for Kitchener Seniors (MACKS)
  • members of council
  • staff members
  • a representative from the Volunteer Action Centre of K-W

Recognition activities

We hope to hold a celebration in June where all nominees will be recognized, and the winner is announced by the mayor. If a large gathering isn’t possible, alternatives such as a smaller gathering or individual doorstep visits will be arranged to recognize each nominee and the award recipient.

Subscribe to this page to get an email when we share information about future recognition activities.


2022 Senior of the Year nominees

Please join us in congratulating Lois Millar for being named Kitchener’s 2021 Senior of the Year!

11 outstanding older adults were nominated for this award in 2022. Use the accordions below to learn about each nominee.

Lois Millar - 2022 award recipient

Lois recently turned 80 years old, and despite officially retiring 15 years ago from a nursing career she began in 1963, she continues to work as a casual part-time nurse in the Emergency Department at St. Mary’s General Hospital. Lois has always been diligent about picking up shifts to help fill gaps. During the pandemic, she regularly picked up shifts when staffing challenges occurred, always with a smile and lifting the spirits of patients and colleagues. Lois has seen health care change tremendously over the years and has always embraced the changes. Lois leads by example and displays strength, kindness, intelligence, and compassion when dealing with patients who are complex or marginalized - from a warm greeting to teaching shoulder to shoulder, Lois leads by example and shows strength, kindness, intelligence, and compassion. It can be exceptionally challenging to navigate the ER as a new nurse, and Lois has been extremely valuable in supporting and mentoring her colleagues so they can succeed. Additionally, Lois has been a member of the YMCA for 40 years and has volunteered for the YMCA's Healthy Hearts program for the past 15 years, and with the Rock Steady Boxing program for the last five years -- a non-contact program for people with Parkinson's disease. When the program was unable to meet in person due to the pandemic, Lois continued to volunteer virtually, keeping weekly contact with her participants. Lois encourages her colleagues to keep active to avoid having their careers shortened due to the physical demands of nursing. Thank you, Lois, for providing compassionate care and support to St. Mary’s patients and their families, and for being an exemplary mentor and role model for colleagues and the community.

Lerma Aguto

Having earned a degree in Math and Physics in the Philippines, Lerma brought this tenacity and knowledge to Canada in 1970. Since moving to Kitchener, Lerma has given back to the community. For over 20 years, she has served as the choir leader, guitarist, and cantor at St. Aloysius Parish. Lerma has also served as an organizer, grant writer, and member of the Filipino Canadian Seniors group for over five years, helping connect new Canadians with the Filipino community while also promoting Filipino culture back to Canada. Recent grant-writing initiatives brought support from local Members of Parliament to the Filipino Seniors group and even brought a visit from the Federal Minister for the group’s promotion of fellowship, recreation, and physical activity. Lerma, thank you for supporting the Filipino community and being an inspiration through your strength, perseverance, and sense of community.   

Rev. Brice Balmer

Since his time in seminary school, Brice has always strived to understand what social justice means, and how to pass that awareness on to others. Brice moved here for a position as a pastor at First Mennonite Church, where he served for seven years. Over the next 20 years, Brice served as chaplain for House of Friendship and a few other organizations. During that time, Brice was also chair of the founding board for the Independent Living Centre, supporting the board for at least ten years. It was established as Canada’s first ILC in 1984. Currently, Brice volunteers with the Muslim Social Services, bringing together newcomers and helping lead their team towards making the region a more welcoming place. Brice's additional volunteer work with Interfaith Community Counselling has helped reduce stigmas and divisions and has instead fostered a sense of belonging among members of different yet interconnected faiths. He also spends time volunteering to teach online classes for students in Iraq, assisting with their graduate programs in Theology. Every day Brice works to inspire members of marginalized communities to reach beyond what society has given them and accomplish what he knows they can achieve. Thank you, Brice, for always being a passionate advocate for social justice and for being a role model in inspiring that passion in others. 

Jennifer Cameron

Jennifer is described as a generous and selfless individual with valuable volunteer contributions to the community. Jennifer has served as a hospice volunteer for Waterloo Region Hospice as a gardener, a client driver, a greeter, and client support vigilant. For the past ten years, she has raised thousands of dollars through raffles and plant and art sales. Jennifer is a considerate and caring individual, and her ability to support clients and their families makes her invaluable. She has conducted art classes with clients and participates in reading clubs at the Hospice centre. Her computer skills have been invaluable to Hospice and the May Court Club of KW where she has been a member for over 30 years. She has served in various roles for the Club and is always willing to support its various fundraising efforts. As an accomplished watercolour and acrylic artist, Jennifer has donated dozens of her artworks to various raffles where they are often the most sought-after items. Her artwork has also been donated to Kidsability and the Alzheimer's society. Jennifer inspires others by her willingness to respond to any request or challenge with energy and enthusiasm – including being a model at Hospice’s “Handbags for Hospice” fundraiser. When a staff member at Hospice was asked to describe Jennifer’s role at the centre, she replied, “what doesn’t Jennifer do?” Thank you, Jennifer, for your relentless energy and willingness to respond to all kinds of challenges with compassion and kindness.  

Catharine Gilbertson

Since 2014, Catherine has been a volunteer driver for Wheels of Hope with the Canadian Cancer Society. Catharine has provided countless rides to clients during that time to ensure they reach their cancer treatment appointments. By driving clients locally and to London and Hamilton, Catharine provides a valuable service to seniors, children driving with their parents, and those living in rural areas. Catharine often provides the only consistent means of transport for clients to and from their treatment. Wheels of Hope lost a large number of drivers during the pandemic and did not operate from March 2020 - July 2021. Without Catherine and other drivers returning to drive clients in the new COVID world, the service would not have been able to resume. Catherine's dedication was shown through her willingness to drive again in light of all the new changes. Her availability on days when clients need her has been consistent, and she is contacted when last-minute emergencies come up. Thank you, Catharine, for being a treasured volunteer whose dedication to helping clients inspires everyone connected to the Wheels of Hope program.

Shirley Gosselin

Shirley has lived in Cherry Park for 25 years and has played a key role in creating a neighbourhood that is more than a collection of houses, but a community of friends. Shirley has been a member of the Cherry Park Neighbourhood Association (CPNA) since its inception, serving as secretary for five years and president for the last ten years. Shirley also organizes the content and distribution of seasonal newsletters. 15 years ago, Shirley started the Old Willow Green community garden, followed by the Willow Green Extension Garden in Raddatz Park. She continues to organize perennial plantings and fruit tree plantings as the garden coordinator. Shirley also arranged for a community bread oven to be built in the Willow Green Extension Garden. She organizes many events in the neighbourhood, including an annual perennial sale each spring with her husband. Along with a committee of volunteers, Shirley has been organizing the annual Cherry Park Cherry Festival for the past 15 years. Shirley was instrumental in getting a picnic shelter built at the entrance to Cherry Park for Canada's 150th anniversary. When CPNA won a grant from the Festival of Neighbourhoods in 2019, Shirley helped facilitate the installation of adult exercise stations in Raddatz Park. As part of the CPNA, she also organizes activities for all ages to foster friendships between neighbours. Shirley has also been a member of the Catholic Women’s League for 40 years and has served as president of several parish councils and has been on the parish executive for over 30 years. She has also served as a lector and an extraordinary minister of the Eucharist for many years. After retiring in 2007, Shirley started volunteering at St. John’s School to teach children about nature and gardening. With an understanding of the needs in her community, Shirley finds ways to offer programs and events that meet those needs. She likes things to be free and accessible, always remembering that not everyone has the same opportunities. Thank you, Shirley, for being a true community builder and contributing tirelessly to the quality of life for residents of all ages in the Cherry Park neighbourhood.

Philip Martin

Since retiring from teaching in 2012, Philip has dedicated himself to helping young people make connections with their surrounding environment by founding the Cycling into the Future Program (CITF). This non-profit organization offers a six-part program to grade five and grade six students in elementary schools in the Waterloo region to teach them how to ride a bike safely. Since 2014, CITF has reached more than 5,200 students on topics ranging from how to fix a flat tire to riding with confidence on the road. Phil turned heads in the early days of the program by towing a canoe built of bicycle components behind his bike as he rode from school to school. The program is offered with a "Covenant of Inclusion," which means that if equipment is needed, it will be provided; if a student does not know how to ride a bike, they will be taught; if accommodations are necessary, they can be provided so that no one is left behind. To obtain funding and secure safe equipment, Phil reached out to the community and fostered connections that never existed before. The enthusiasm and joy he displayed for the program and the results it produced made all involved feel privileged to be part of it. Phil has also volunteered with the Project-Based Learning Program at Breslau Mennonite Church for 15 years. He is also chair of the church’s Truth and Reconciliation Working Group. He serves on the Mennonite Church of Eastern Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation working group. Phil also supports the Fraser Lake stay-over camp near Bancroft by participating in a working group to identify new opportunities and support administrators. Thank you, Phil, for sharing your passion and skills, and for urging everyone to be active and involved in enriching our community.    

Don McDonald

As a house league coach with the Kitchener Minor Hockey Association (KNHA) for the past 26 years, Donald is described as someone who lights up the room with his presence. Over the years, he has positively impacted many young players, parents, convenors, office staff and countless others in the Kitchener Minor Hockey organization. As a positive role model, Donald has guided many other volunteer coaches. He has always been involved with the grassroots program and enjoys teaching kids the game of hockey and preparing them to become successful adults. In his time with KMHA, Donald has seen many changes and he is always emphasizing the phrase "we need to adapt, persevere, and overcome." Donald is a strong advocate for KMHA and often speaks with other volunteers on the association's behalf to encourage understanding that change is sometimes required to advance positively. Donald has always been a supporter of the underdog, which is why he made these kids feel like they were his best players and that their contributions were necessary to fulfill the team. He has a gift for making these kids feel like they are on top of the world. Thank you, Donald, for being such a positive role model, mentor, and cheer leader for so many young hockey players and the Kitchener Minor Hockey Association.    

Judy McKay

Judy is described as an energetic and passionate person who gives her best in every task she undertakes. As a Stanley Park Community Association (SPCA) volunteer since 2015, Judy has contributed over 2500 hours, serving as office coordinator, event volunteer and as board member. Judy is always willing to lend a helping hand and supports training other volunteers. Judy is an exceptional role model and plans for the future. Through her role as a green ambassador for SPCA events, Judy put systems in place to ensure that composted and recycled materials did not end up in the trash. Judy has also served as a School Nutrition Program volunteer with Nutrition for Learning. She is currently the Membership Chair, Board President and Office Manager for the Kitchener Centre Provincial Liberals Association as well as the Membership Chair and Office Manager for the Kitchener Centre Federal Liberals Association. Judy founded the National Women's Liberal Commission and works alongside a team of women to ensure equal participation of both men and women at all levels of the Party and acts as a role model to ensure everyone has a voice. Judy has a way of engaging people and making them want to work with her; they see her work and become inspired to rise to her level of commitment and passion. Thank you, Judy, for your enthusiasm and for setting an example that fuels the collective energy and accomplishments of those you inspire.

Mary Patterson

Mary has been a devoted volunteer of Community Support Connections since 2008, providing 14 years of service and over 3,000 hours. Mary serves as a Meals on Wheels driver as well as a shopping volunteer. She is known by all to be kind-hearted and friendly. Because of Mary, many vulnerable community members have access to a hot, nutritious meal delivered right to their door. Since the start of the pandemic, Mary has accumulated enough volunteer mileage to travel across the entire country from Cape Spear, Newfoundland, to the Yukon/Alaska boundary! Mary stepped up immediately to help the list shop program during the pandemic when shopping volunteers were desperately needed. As a shopping volunteer picking up food and necessities, Mary enables some of the most vulnerable community members to live independently at home. Prior to the pandemic, Mary also let new volunteers to shadow her during her route, making sure they felt at ease and answering any questions. Thank you, Mary, for your dedication and valuable service in supporting older adults and adults with different abilities to live at home with independence and dignity.

Adeline Warmington

As a member and Seniors’ Ambassador for the African Family Revival Organization’s (AFRO) Support Through the Generations Program, Adeline is a selfless and highly active volunteer. The primary aim of the program is to navigate health and social systems for seniors to get the support they need through connections with AFRO’s cultural and social events. Adeline is an excellent public speaker, which is one of the reasons she was appointed as Senior Ambassador. During events, Adeline connects with youth volunteers to build intergenerational relationships by addressing critical issues the young people might be going through. Adeline connects with AFRO’s staff regularly to advise on what activities should be offered to meet the needs of participants. As a registered nurse for 42 years, Adeline has naturally devoted most of her life to caring for others in the community when they were sick, needed help and was always ready to lend a helping hand. Adeline helped some of the group members register for Mobility Plus and calls participants the day before ensuring they’re ready for their ride and never miss out on the bi-weekly programs at the Victoria Hills Community Centre. By sharing her lived experiences and providing emotional and educational support, Adeline is a precious resource to the senior group and empowers those around her. Thank you, Adeline, for being an active community leader in bridging generations and inspiring those around you through your kindness, generosity, and service to others.