2013 Volunteer of the Year
Eldon and Deanna Smith
Eldon and Deanna Smith, partners in life and volunteerism, are the recipients of the 2013 Port Williams Representative Volunteer Award.
The couple, who celebrated 50 years of marriage in 2012, moved to Port Williams in 1969 and built a home on Belcher Street where they raised their sons Michael and Ronnie. Deanna taught for almost 30 years, most of it at Port Williams Elementary School where she shared her artistic and crafting gifts with colleagues and students.
Since her retirement in 1994, Deanna has had more time to spend painting, quilt making and crafting. She has always been generous with her creations: donating quilts to Chrysalis House, doing many paintings for family, friends and neighbours, made even more special in that many were representations of their homes or cottages. The two often assist each other in their pursuits. Eldon builds the wooden puzzles that Deanna makes for children and Deanna has often helped in the kitchen at Lions’ dinners and most recently donated a painting to the Lions’ Valentine’s Day Dinner.
Most of Eldon and Deanna’s volunteering has been done in connection with the Port Williams and District Lions Club of which Eldon is a charter and life member. During the course of his 43 years as a member, Eldon was on the executive as President for two terms, Vice-President, Director, and Lion Tamer, serving as well on many committees as member and chair.
While King Lion in 1983-84 he introduced a Neighbourhood Watch Program in the village for which the Club received a Crime Prevention Award from the Solicitor General of Canada.
In the early years of the Club he headed a group that was responsible for the outdoor skating rink on Belcher Street spending many hours cleaning and flooding the ice. His expertise as an electrician was invaluable when the Club installed lights so that the rink could be used for skating at night.
Eldon makes the posts for the 911 civic number signs sold by the Lions and on behalf of the Club he assisted the Village Commission with various projects including the construction of the stage in the Community Centre.
But it Eldon and Deanna’s many years of work on the Apple Blossom Festival Float Committee of the Lions Club (chair from 1978-1980 and 2003 to the present) for which we particularly wish to recognize them. With his skills in construction and Deanna’s in art they have been the perfect team as she designs the floats, he constructs them and she paints and decorates them (with the help of other Lions Club members). Over the course of a decade their skilful collaboration has resulted in a prize-winning float for the village virtually every year.
Twenty-twelve was particularly rewarding as the float not only carried Queen Annapolisa 80th, Princess Port Williams, Samantha Whynot, but it was chosen as the Most Outstanding Princess float.
And so the Board of Trustees of the Community Centre feels that it is only fitting that on behalf of all village residents who have ever seen, appreciated and felt a community pride in our beautiful Princess floats that we nominate Eldon and Deanna Smith for the Port Williams Representative Volunteer Award.
2012 Volunteer of the Year
The best way to sum up the Port Williams recreation Committee nomination for Harold Benedict is to say "Whenever there is something that needs to be done, he is there doing it."
The Recreation Committee is responsible for the maintenance of a Ball field, multiple soccer fields, an outdoor rink, the Launcher Athletics throws facility and most recently the new Port Willaims Park. And when you look to see who is doing the physical work, one of those people is always octogenarian Harold Benedict.
Even before his move to Port Williams in 2001, he would lend a helping hand with the Village's recreation projects. And now that he lives here, he is the one doing the important tasks on a consistent basis. Tasks that are necessary to keep the facilities ready to use. It is Harold who is clearing the pond and flooding it in time for the cold snap, Harold who does the difficult and onerous work each year of putting the softball backstop net up and Harold who has greatly extending the lives of the tractors that mow the playing fields.
His expertise in heavy equipment meant that he was heavily involved during the construction of two soccer fields, the Veteran's Memorial and the Launchers Athletic field. His technical knowledge and assistance ensured that the work of laying concrete, digging post holes, and erecting the safety cage for the throws facility was done correctly, And the floor of the equipment shed that had never been even? One day it was level, the building jacked up and secured thanks to Harold.
The shed at the rink received a thorough upgrade at Harold's hands. He was responsible for jacking up the building, stripping and reshingling the roof, installing 1/2" plywood on the inside and the application of new vinyl siding.
Of special note is his work with the Port Williams Park. Not only was he involved in its construction, starting with the brush clearing and leveling the ground, then continuing with the actual construction of the playground by helping assemble the steel foundation, putting together the play structure, digging holes for the posts for the hard surface court, but he kept the park greenery alive during that first crucial summer. Every day of theose hot summer months, Harold was down at the Park, watering the flowers, shrubs and trees.
2011 Volunteer of the Year
Merle Millett's "Passion for sports" has shown itself in many ways: as a player, coach, umpire volunteer. He has played softball, briefly coached minor hockey and softball, umpired and served on the Port Williams Recreation Committee.
During his 13 years as an official, Merle umpired at all levels, including the Eastern Canadian championships and a national game.
Merle became a Trustee of the Port Williams Community Centre in 1987 serving as a Member at Large and also participated for many years in the Women's Institute's Adopt-a-Highway program.
But it was as a ten-year member of the Port Williams Recreation Committee with organizational and maintenance responsibility for the ball field that Merle made his greatest contribution to the village.
Merle's High standards inspired those working with him to maintain the field at such a near-professional level that players, coaches and umpires often praised it. In fact, umpires say it is the 5th best ball field in the province.
Merle rejoined the Hall Trustees as the PWRC representative, serving on the kitchen committee and as secretary for many years. Merle was the long-time Vice Chair of the PWRC and an active participant in its projects until his retirement in 2010.
2010 Volunteer of the Year
Park Planning Committee
Lieutenant-Governor Mayann Francis (far left) and MInister of Volunteerism Marilyn More (far right) presented Port Williams Park Planning Committee chair Lia Glover Hennigar and fund raising committe chair Laura Churchill Duke with a Provincial Volunteer Award at the 36th Annual Provincial Volunteer Awards on April 12th in Halifax.
In a mere 17 months, the Port Williams Park Planning Committee, chaired by Lia Glover Hennigar, has designed, raised money for, and successfully completed phase one of the construction a multigenerational, centrally located park for the residents of Port Williams.
It was less than 2 years ago in June, 2008 that Lia stood up at the Village’s Annual Meeting to express the need for Port Williams to have a park. That September, she and a group of like-minded residents and friends got together and the Port Williams Park Planning Committee was born. It consists of committee chair Lia Glover Hennigar, fundraising chair Laura Churchill Duke, webmaster Jonathan Shum, Village Commission member Lewis Benedict, Municipal Councilor Janet Newton, Recreation Committee member Wayne Blenkhorn, and community members Ann Greener, Wendy Zwicker, David Hovell, Scott McCulloch, and Leigh Morrison.
The early stages of park planning included two open house events to gather ideas and get feedback from residents. After approval from the Village Commission in April, 2009 landscape architect was hired to design the park. The creation of the park, which is projected to cost approximately $180,000, was divided into three phases, the first of which included an accessible driveway and parking area and a hard surface court which was constructed in the summer, playground equipment which was installed in December and basketball nets and swings which will go up this spring.
Within the first year they earned more than the $80,000 required to complete phase one by actively pursuing grants and doing many fundraisers. They successfully obtained twelve grants totaling $94,916 and their innovative fund raisers included spring’s Showcase 4 Kids, the Port Williams Days Canteen, Renovators’ Paradise House Tour, followed by summer’s Sobey’s barbecue and Summer Camp for Kids. Fall brought their most successful event; Park it at the Pub, which earned over $20,000, Stargazing, the first event held at the Park, the Everything 4 Kids Super Sale, the amazing car hunt and the great bake auction held during the Village’s Christmas Tree Lighting party and the event Music - Play for Life Concert on Feb. 21st.
The total money raised now stands at approximately $108,000 with the final two phases of the park scheduled for completion in 2011. They consist of a reflexology garden (the only one on the East Coast), a walking trail, landscaping, benches and a sun shelter for picnic tables.
The committee’s website (pwpark.ca) and e-newsletter keep community members up-to-date about the work of the committee and progress on the park.
2009 Volunteer of the Year
Village Commission Chair Lewis Benedict and Commissioner Ernie Hovell stand with Dorothy Farnsworth, recipient of the Harold B. Legge Volunteer Award and inaugural representative from the village for a Nova Scotia Provincial Volunteer Award. Farnsworth was presnted with the Provnicial Award at a ceremony in Halifax.
The members of the Murdoch C. Smith Library Board nominated Dorothy Farnsworth for Volunteer of the Year for the Village of Port Williams.
A former Air Force wireless operator and instructor, Dorothy last worked for Canada Packers Feed Division in Port Williams. She became a member of the Quarter Century Club retiring in 1986.
Dorothy, known as “Dot” to most, has made an immeasurable contribution to all facets of her community. When trying to establish a time frame for many of her volunteer activities, those questioned would very often say, “Well, she’s been doing it for as long as I can remember.”
For The Library:
Dorothy is a member of the Murdoch C. Smith Library Association and has worked on the 50th Anniversary Committee during all of 2008. She has assisted two Librarians at the Port Williams Branch of the Annapolis Valley Regional Library as a volunteer during the years 1987 to 1997. She encouraged the local Valley Gardeners to donate many lovely gardening books which are permanent to the Port Williams Branch.
For Her Community:
Dorothy has been involved with the Port Williams Community Centre as Senior’s representative on the Kitchen Committee of the Board of Trustees for 9 years. For many summers Dorothy assisted in planting, water and donating plants to the gardens at the Community Centre. For over six years, Dorothy has cut and pasted items of interest from local papers and inserted them in a series of Village scrapbooks which are available at the Village Office. When land adjacent to Dorothy’s property was recently purchased by the Village, she with others immediately began to plan a flower garden to make the area more attractive.
As a Constant Gardener:
The gardens that surround her property add a touch of beauty to Main Street. She maintains a real interest in gardening and has been a vital member of Valley Gardeners. Dot has won many awards for her beautiful flowers. She has served as program chairperson, club secretary for 2 years, helps and donates plants to the annual plant sale as well as the planning and caring for the gardens at the courtyard of the Valley Regional Hospital in Kentville.
For Her Church:
As a faithful member of the United Baptist Church of Port Williams, Dorothy has served as auditor for over 35 years. In the past, she has been in charge of hall bookings for the church hall. She also has worked on the Ways & Means (fundraising committee) acting as chairperson for many years. This involved working countless hours at chowder luncheons and funeral receptions. For the last 4 years she has been on the church Decorating Committee and prior to that always donated flowers and plants to beautify the church. She is always one of the first to give a warm welcome to new members of the community.
The Port Williams Auxiliary has been grateful for her many donations of plants for their annual fundraiser and plant sale.
Since her retirement, Dot has been a vital member of the Port Williams Seniors Club, serving as President 1992-93, Treasurer and program organizer. She has participated in and acted on the Organizational Committee for the Nova Scotia Seniors Games and been involved with Seniors Expo.
Dorothy for many years has represented the Veterans at various functions on Remembrance Day and for the last few years lays the Village wreath at Acadia University.
Dot is a skilled bridge player and has participated in bridge marathons in the surrounding area.
Aside from her many contributions to organizations and institutions in her community, Dot always keeps in touch with her lifelong friends and supports them in times of illness. She also has been generous in transporting others to various events and meetings, often going far out of her way in all kinds of weather to see that others get there.
We are aware that we have probably omitted many more ways that Dot has been involved as a volunteer. Her humility, generosity with time and talent, creativity and loyalty provide a stellar example for the youth of the Port Williams and enrich the life of others both in and around her community.
2008 Volunteer of the Year Award
Steve was the driving force behind the construction of a throwing field in the village and the coach of Launchers Athletics, the throwing club that operates from the field. Two provincial records, one in discus and one in shot put, have fallen there recently and it’s also the site of a week-long camp that introduces children to throwing events.
2007 Volunteer of the Year Award
2006 Volunteer of the Year Award
2005 Volunteer of the Year Award
2004 Volunteer of the Year Award
2003 Volunteer of the Year Award
Ian and Nancy Ross
2002 Volunteer of the Year Award
2001 Volunteer of the Year Award
Port Williams Volunteer Fire Department
2000 Volunteer of the Year Award
Wayne and Ruth Blenkhorn
Stuart and Audrey Griffin
Marion and Don Newcombe
Port Williams Lioness Club
1999 Volunteer of the Year Award
Budd and Elinor Miller
1998 Volunteer of the Year Award
1997 Volunteer of the Year Award
Peter and Shirley Jackson
Port Williams Lioness Club
1996 Volunteer of the Year Award
1995 Volunteer of the Year Award
Port Williams and District Lions Club