OXFORD – The town of Oxford recognized volunteers in five different categories during the Oxford Volunteer of the Year Awards Wednesday night in Oxford.
“We are celebrating your good deeds, which are done freely,” said Oxford mayor Trish Stewart, who began the ceremony by thanking the recipients for all they do for the community. “Perhaps you are feeling that this event isn’t necessary but we as a community feel it is necessary.
“It’s important you know how vital you are to us in Oxford,” she added.
Stewart pointed out how one boat built by volunteers floated, while another, built by professionals, sunk.
“Noah’s Ark was built by volunteers,” said Stewart. “The Titanic was built by professionals.”
Oxford Home Hardware was recognized as business volunteer of the year, the Oxford Royal Canadian Legion was recognized as organization volunteer of the year, the Hoffman’s were recognized as volunteer family of the year, Bruce Beattie was recognized as volunteer firefighter of the year, and Alison Draper was recognized as the individual volunteer of the year.
– Individual volunteer award recipient
Thanks to Draper, the town celebrated Women’s day for the first time this year. She identified an important opportunity, formed a committee, and ensured that the celebration was a success. As a result, a not-for profit-program for girls benefitted financially.
Draper is also the founding director of the Oxford Historical Society. She has been instrumental in obtaining funding for and planning the Jim McCleave festival to be held this upcoming September.
Through her volunteer work the development of the Oxford Heritage Square has happened. Many hours were spent planning, applying for funding, and putting plans in place.
Draper has served four years on the Zonta executive and as a judge on two international Zonta Scholarship committees, Young women in Public Affairs, and JK women in Business.
Draper was a Big Sister with the Big Brotheres, Big Sisters Club and is still actively involved in her little sister’s life.
She is the Oxford Community Contact for CBC Radio FM 90.5 where she airs every six, or so, weeks.
As a member of Communities in Bloom she works hands-on in helping to make Oxford a more vibrant community.
Draper has been secretly known to dress up in costume to entertain the little ones at local events and at Oxford’s YMCA Childcare facility.
“What impresses me so much about Alison is not just her role of a dedicated volunteer,” said Stewart. “But it is her ability to create a passion about a project so that others gladly want to be a part of it. This is a rare talent…”
Draper said she was very honoured to be recognized.
“It’s very humbling,” said Draper.
She pointed out that help from others has helped make her work successful.
“I like working with other people to help create positive change in the community.”
She says it’s important to do something outside of family and time that you enjoy doing.
“Anyone at any age can find if fun and important to give time and to volunteer,” said Draper. “People should never be shy about volunteering. Everyone has something to offer.”
– Volunteer Award for a Business recipient
Oxford Home Hardware, a Deveaux-family owned business since 1994, is the Volunteer Business of the year. Home hardware has been generous with their support to many endeavors, such as: Oxford’s new Fire Hall, the Riverfest Music Festival, school committees, the Lions 101 Draw the Masons, the Knights of Pythias, the Canadian Cancer Society, and the Kidney Foundation
Other activities they have assisted with include yearbook, prom, and safe grad committees with their support in hosting BBQ’s and carwashes from the store’s parking lot.
A sponsor of ice time at the Town’s rink allows the community to be able to participate in free public skates.
“Chris Deveaux, of Oxford Home Hardware…All that you have done and continue to do for the Citizens of Oxford, and particularly our youth, does not go unnoticed,” said Stewart.
Reverend Chris Greer accepted the award on behalf of Home Hardware.
“Chris (Deveaux) believes in giving back to the town he grew up in and we have staff at Home Hardware who very much support the town,” said Greer.
– Volunteer Award for an Organization recipient
The Oxford Royal Canadian Legion Branch No. 36 has 20-plus members, however most are elderly, therefore their numbers of active volunteers is few.
With small numbers to work with, the members of the Branch struggle.
However, they remain true to their community with reaching out to help others. A not-for-profit organization, the legion serves a monthly breakfast to assist with funding of the building.
The hall is used at discounted rates and lot of time given for free for fundraisers and benefits.
The building is a site for emergency evacuation for EMO in a time of a disaster. Kept on hand is first aid gear in the form of crutches, walkers, and wheelchairs for loan to those who are in need. The Marks Man Association uses the basement for shooting practice at a discounted price, enough to cover the cost of heat and lights. When the firemen were without a hall during their construction phase, the Legion assisted them with allowing them to host their bingo on site.
Members of the branch assist the Springhill Veteran’s Hospital and veterans on a regular basis.
Even though the cadets no longer operate out of Oxford, the legion sponsor’s cadet programs that the community children are part of, such as when Springhill, every November 11, sees the Oxford cadet members step forward to organize the Remembrance Day Parade which honours the veterans from the community.
“We want to thank you for stepping up to the plate this year,” said Stewart. “You exemplify organizations working together for a common goal.”
– Family volunteer award recipient
Work brought David and Nina Hoffman moved to Oxford in 1995 with their children Nicola and James.
David, Co-CEO of Oxford Frozen Foods, and Nina, a house wife, have given the town of Oxford and surrounding communities endless hours of their time through volunteering from day one and continue to do so.
As the Hoffman’s raised their children, many hours of volunteering was steered towards activities related to their kids and the community at that time.
As empty nest syndrome hit the Hoffman home, instead of taking time for themselves, both involved themselves more and more in the community.
Nina has been an active volunteer with the Cumberland YMCA for 17-plus years.
She is a YMCA trainer of instructors, a pilates instructor, an aqua-fit instructor, a chair fitness instructor, a cycle fit instructor, and a cardio challenge instructor.
Not only does she volunteer her time at the Cumberland YMCA but she also volunteers at their outreach site, including right here in Oxford. Nina received the Volunteer of the Year YMCA award in 1999.
She is also a volunteer instructor at Ski Wentworth and has assisted the Oxford Regional Education Centre’s ski wee program numerous times, as well as in the past has coached the OREC ski team, seeing many of her students bring home medal standings.
Nina is a cross-country running coach for Team OREC.
She remains active with the Canadian Cancer society and is a hands-on volunteer for Communities in Bloom. Nina was recipient of the provincial volunteer of the year award in 1996.
David is currently President of the Oxford Trails Association and Past Vice Chair of the Trans Canada Trails Association.
Still active, after giving 10-plus years to the Trails Association National Board, David is working with the board to see the completion of the trail.
Chair of the Nova Scotia Community College Foundation province wide, David sits on the governance committee dealing with the overall management of the Foundation and identifying and bringing new board members to the board.
He also assisted with the Junior Achievers with their successful pitch to the popular entrepreneur television show, The Dragon’s Den.
A huge supporter of the Relay for Life and a member of the Dream Team, David has successful in helping raise thousands of dollars to help fight cancer.
Over the years, the Town of Oxford has welcomed David with his input to its recreational programs where at one time he was a member of Oxford’s Recreation Committee.
David has also showed his support of the YMCA in the past where he sat on the Board as treasurer.
In the past, David has been involved with Oxford’s Habitant for Humanity Project and plans to continue to be actively involved in the future.
“It would be impossible for me to calculate the amount of hours per year you devote to volunteering…” said Stewart, when speaking of the Hoffman family.
–Firefighter volunteer of the year recipient
Beattie, an active member of the Oxford Volunteer Fire Department for 16-plus years, was voted by the Oxford fire department to be the 2013 Fire Fighter of the Year.
Beattie not only serves as a fire fighter but can be used as a spare driver of any of the trucks.
Although Beattie does not assign himself to specific committees, the department knows that he will give of himself whenever he is needed.
Beattie did take interest from day one and was part of the new fire hall committee. Sitting on this committee for years saw Beattie be part of fundraising ideas, building plans, construction plans, and the carry out of the project.
Retiring from the Salt Mine in July left Beattie with extra time on his hands. Instead of being selfish and taking the time for himself, he stepped up to the plate and took on a huge commitment for the department.
Knowing Chief Rushton worked daily, Beattie took it upon himself to be the visible person on site daily, asking questions and getting answers needed.
Beattie ended up becoming a contact person who set up and followed through with specific duties in the construction process.
Beattie spent endless hours on clean up and over seeing the hall process daily.
Besides the volunteering that Beattie does with the fire department, he also assists with the Windsor Salt Mine Rescue Team.
Beattie is looking forward to spending time with his family at the summer cottage as he enjoys his retirement.
“I personally thank you for the endless hours that you put in overseeing the building of the new fire hall, and it’s a privilege to say thank you on behalf of everyone,” said Stewart.