Hazen Lewis was too busy volunteering to accept his PSP Volunteer of the Year 2016 Award, so Scott Boutillier accepted it on his behalf from Colonel Gagne, LCol Raymond and Nathan Lane. (Photo by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)
Col Gagne also presented Jennifer McPhee with a commendation for being integral to the organization of the well-attended Garrison Petawawa event. (Photo by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)
Olga Eastabrook received the PMFRC Volunteer of Merit for 2016 Award. She is flanked by 4th Canadian Division Support Group (4 CDSB) Commander Colonel Marc Gagné and PMFRC Executive Director Claudia Beswick. (Photo by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)
Velma Parsons accepts the PSP Volunteer of Merit for 2016 Award on behalf of her husband Lindsay Parsons. It was presented to her, from left, by Colonel Gagne, 4 CDSB Operations Services Commander Lieutenant Colonel Richard Raymond and Senior Manager PSP Nathan Lane. (Photo by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)
Colonel Gagne and Beswick present Ryan Cadoreth with his PMFRC Volunteer of the Year 2016 Award. (Photo by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)
Colonel Gagne and Beswick present Sabryna Eustache with the the 2016 PMFRC Youth Volunteer of the Year Award. (Photo by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)
PMFRC, PSP Petawawa volunteers recognized at annual awards night
By Patricia Leboeuf
Posted on Thursday, June 2, 2016
Typically working hard behind the scenes, the Petawawa Military Family Resource Centre (PMFRC) and the Personnel Support Programs (PSP) volunteers were given centre-stage during the CANEX Volunteer Appreciation Night.
About 100 people attended the May 26 event and were showered with praise for their countless hours of hard work and effort. As they walked into Reichwald Warrant Officers’ and Sergeants’ Mess, they were greeted with live music, delicious food and a chance to win some truly fabulous prizes.
It is a traditional event eagerly awaited by volunteers every year.
“It’s our way of showing them our appreciation,” said PMFRC Volunteer Coordinator Julie Cajelais. “And even though we do many different events in the year, this one is the most important.”
“We just really appreciate everything they do, and we like to recognize our volunteers,” added PMFRC Executive Director Claudia Beswick, pointing out there are about 200 volunteers on record. “... Volunteering is near and dear to my heart. So any time I can recognize them, I’m there.”
Both the PMFRC and PSP Petawawa heavily rely on volunteers to offer services and recreational programs. Without them, these organizations would suffer as volunteers are their backbone, providing stability and support, confirmed Beswick.
Each brings something unique and special to the events, programs and activities they create, nurture and bring to life.
“We really believe that having them be a part of the team is really important for us, but for them as well,” said Cajelais.
Though she is impressed by the dedication of all of her volunteers, she is especially proud of her youth. The youth program was created in October, and already they are a group of “awesome kids, who have accomplished so many things that it is unbelievable,” she said.
Karen Donovan, PSP’s Manager of Community Recreation, is also always impressed by the dedication of volunteers of all ages. She loves the fact that this event takes the time to focus and thank them for all the time they’ve put in throughout the year, recognizing their value. The spirit and depth of knowledge they bring to each of the organizations is invaluable, Donovan confirmed.
There are many reasons why somebody would want to volunteer.
“There is a lot to be gained from volunteerism,” said Donovan. “There is the sense of community, you are part of a group, you are able to contribute back to the community.”
It also has a lot of therapeutic benefits, and it allows people to immerse themselves in a sport or activity that they love.
The event was sponsored by CANEX. CANEX General Manager Gerald Doner was grateful for the opportunity to give back to the volunteers, just as they give back to Petawawa.
“Each minute you spend as a volunteer benefits the community and improves the morale and welfare of our soldiers,” said Doner.
4th Canadian Division Support Group (4 CDSG) Commander Colonel Marc Gagne also offered his thanks, highlighting how integral volunteers are to the community.
“I am asking you tonight to continue with your commitment and support, and possibly to bring in new people to join you,” he said.
Both PSP and the PMFRC are always actively on the look-out for more volunteers.
“We have a lot activities, a lot of things going on for our youth, for our children, for our families, for adults, so we always need those extra bodies to make sure the programs and services are running smoothly,” said Donovan.
As well as generally acknowledging their work, awards were given out at the event. The PSP Volunteer of the Year 2016 Award went to Hazen Lewis while the PSP Volunteer Award of Merit for 2016 went to Lindsay Parsons.
The PMFRC Youth Volunteer of the Year 2016 Award went to Sabryna Eustache, the PMFRC Volunteer of the Year 2016 Award went to Ryan Cadoreth, and the PMFRC Volunteer of Merit for 2016 Award went to Olga Eastabrook. For her hard work organizing the Garrison Petawawa Triathlon, Jennifer McPhee received a commendation.