Oxford hosted a banquet for individuals and organizations for their volunteerism during the past year. (From left) Corey Skinner, Oxford recreation director; Gerry McLellan, Volunteer of the Year; Jordan Rushton, Youth Volunteer of the Year; Jamie Baillie, Cumberland South MLA and Trish Stewart, Oxford mayor. Charlie Weeks-Citizen-Record
Those receiving the award were nominated from the numerous people who volunteer their time and skills each year to better the community.
Mayor Trish Stewart said the banquet is the opportunity to honoured those who give so freely of their time, doing so while expecting nothing in return.
“Perhaps you feel this banquet is unnecessary but we feel as a community it is necessary,” she told the nominees. “It’s important for you to know how important you are to our community. You donate endless hours to your community, making it a better place to live. All you’ve done and continue to do it doesn’t go unnoticed.”
Cumberland South MLA Jamie Baillie agreed saying communities are proud of their volunteers and these banquets are an opportunity to show just how proud they are.
He said Springhill honoured its volunteers the previous night.
“What is so obvious is that though government may change from time to time it’s the volunteers and what they do in their communities that make a town a town and a community a community,” he said. “That will never change.”
Gerry McLellan is the Oxford Volunteer of the Year. His nomination is for his years dedicated in assuring the completion of the Trans Canada Trail through Oxford.
His commitment to see the connection of the Trail on either side of Oxford is what motivates him to work so hard on this project. That motivation has spread throughout the community encouraging others to volunteer along with him.
He and his wife Marion recently received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Snowmobilers Association of Nova Scotia for their promoting of the sport of snowmobiling in Cumberland County and the province.
Gerry also earned the 2014 Provincial Volunteer of the Year Award and a County Volunteer of the Year Award.
Jordan Rushton is Oxford’s Youth Volunteer of the Year. He is a proven leader on Oxford and continually gives back to his community through volunteering.
He is involved in many organizations such as serving as Junior Mayor of the Youth Town Council. He sits as a youth member on the Oxford and Area Trails Association, has volunteered with the Fun Hockey and Ski Wee programs and is a facilitator for the OREC healthy relationships youth program. He does all this while maintaining a high average in school.
The Oxford Pioneer Heritage Club is the Volunteer Group of the Year for providing a place for seniors to socialize and enjoy entertainment. Doing so is a financial struggle and this group manages to do by raising money through various functions.
The Oxford Subway receives the Business of the Year Award for going above and beyond to help the community. Through its various fundraisers staff supports local sports teams, the Home and School Association, YMCA, the Legion, fire department, cadets and many other groups and organizations.
This group has never been known to refuse a request for help.
Dawn Thompson, town councillor and emcee for the banquet, said saying thank you to the volunteers cannot be expressed enough.
“It’s people like you who make things happen, who make our little town prosper and show success,” she said in closing. “It’s people like you who make us proud.”