Volunteers recognized at appreciation night

Mona Mattei
By Mona Mattei
September 30th, 2010

Volunteers are the backbone of every community. More often than not, these community members do their work quietly with no expectation of rewards – they do what they do because they have a passion for something. Volunteers help in big events and small acts of kindness, from behind the scenes to out in front of audiences, volunteers work to fill in the gaps in our communities.   The City of Grand Forks recognized 14 volunteers at their volunteer appreciation night held last week at the Grand Forks Art Gallery. Mayor Brian Taylor said that although the council was recognizing only some volunteers, there are many who are important to the community who may not be present.   “We all know what satisfaction there is in volunteering, its not getting a big cheer and a clap every time you do something, but it is subtle, little appreciation that you get not only from the organization but from the individuals who work with you – those are the kind of meaningful moments when someone turns to you and says, ‘good job,’” said Taylor. “For me the kind of future we have in Grand Forks is that we all recognize that volunteering is … what satisfaction we all get from contributing to our community in a meaningful way. Tonight we have the opportunity to congratulate and recognize volunteers throughout the community who made a meaningful contribution over the last year, many of them for many years.”   After everyone enjoyed refreshments, each of the city councillors took turns to present the awards (Councillor Michael Wirischagin was unable to attend.) All the volunteers recognized were excited and proud of their award, but many acknowledged the hard work of everyone they have had the pleasure of serving with in their activities.   “There are lots of volunteers here… I work beside a lot of people who I see at the same kinds of things but it shows that a volunteer is a volunteer not necessarily a person who’s in a group and comes out to help that group,” said Susan Harris, nominated for her efforts with the Boundary Horse Association, the Grand Forks International Baseball (GFI), Grand Forks Chamber of Commerce, and a youth registration day. “We wouldn’t be able to do anything without every one of them. We’ve had 300 volunteers at the GFI, we have a least six families that work with the Boundary Horse Association. It’s not just one person!”  

The award recipients were: Susan Harris; John Heavener, involved with public safety, emergency housing, the airport committee, citizens on patrol, and the GFI; Peter Matheson, a long-time community volunteer in many roles including Red Cross, women’s shelter, Imagine Grand Forks, Economic Development Task Force, and one of the founders of the Boundary District Arts Council; Delphine Novak, for her volunteer spirit and energy each year helping with the Cancer Relay for Life; Paul Pinard, the lead co-ordinator for the first Solar Days, and founder of the Good Sam Club Boundary Branch as well as his efforts on the Economic Development Task Force; Whitey and Bernice Tetrault for their tireless efforts in organizing the Music in the Park for several years running; Boundary Air Quality Committee – received by Joe Mottishaw – for their years of managing and monitoring the Grand Forks airshed; Citizens on Patrol – received by Staff Sergeant Jim Harrison and Don Fraser; Chris and Robin Dalziel of Joybilee Farms for their involvement with the arts and organizing arts events; Bob deMartelaere, another tireless volunteer for the Boundary Museum Society and the Grand Forks Fall Fair among others; Christine Eyre, involved with public safety and addressing homelessness; Rick Friesen of the Habitat for Humanity; Grand Forks Trails Society – received by George Longden – for their efforts in an ever expanding trails network within the city; and the Grand Forks Economic Development Task Force which, as a team of many volunteers, has brought ideas for community development forward and achieved some goals already. 

Categories: Politics

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