YMCA honours trio for community service
© Darrell Cole – Amherst Daily News
Art ‘Sonny’ Foster, Thane McAloney and Carolyn Cooke were honoured with Peace Medals by the Cumberland YMCA early Friday for their work in the community.
AMHERST – During last summer’s major downtown fire, eight-year-old Thane McAloney made sure firefighters and other emergency personnel were well hydrated.
Hearing a call for assistance on the radio, McAloney asked his mother if there was something he could do.
“Thane knew the firefighters had been onsite all night fighting the fire and when CKDH announced they announced the firefighters would like to have some cool drinks and ice cream to cool them off, he turned to his mother and said ‘Mommy let’s go,’” Cumberland YMCA CEO Trina Clarke said Friday during the organization’s annual Peace Medal Breakfast. “At that point they loaded a cooler full of ice into the van and stopped at the store to pick up some ice cream bars and drinks and headed to drop them off to the firefighters.
“Thane just wanted to do something to help. His actions speak louder than words.”
The Spring Street Academy student was one of three people honoured Friday by the YMCA.
Also honoured were retired schoolteacher Carolyn Cooke and longtime little league supporter and Amherst Lions Club life member Art ‘Sonny’ Foster.
“Thane is our youngest member to be a recipient and Sonny is probably our oldest. The fact we have three awards to give out just shows the things that are happening in our community,” Clarke said. “There’s a recurring theme happening with these presentations and it’s trying to make a difference in the community and leading by example.”
Although she’s no longer teaching full-time Cooke continues to be involved with children and continually encourages and teaches peace.
Through her support, Cumberland North Academy applied for a NSTU Sheonoroil Foundation grant that paired the school with the Educational Mission for Peace and Reconciliation for Africa.
With these funds, the school purchased small peace poles for each classroom as well as a large peace pole for the front of the school. It also purchased the rights of the music and hosted a peace concert featuring the school choir and the African Children’s Choir from Moncton.
Foster has been active with Amherst Little League Baseball since 1957 and has served in numerous capacities. He takes great pride in the fact little league offers baseball free of charge to all children in the Amherst area.
He has also been active with the Amherst Lions Club and was recently made a life member of the club that pours hundreds of thousands of dollars into the community in support of those who need help.
Foster was also honoured by the Amherst Rotary Club with its Paul Harris Fellowship Community Award and was presented with an honourary degree by the Nova Scotia Community College’s Cumberland Campus.