United Way recognizes Community Builders at celebrations across East Ontario

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On September 24, under our new name, United Way East Ontario celebrated volunteers, organizations and change-makers who work hard to make their communities a better place for everyone in Prescott-Russell, Ottawa, Lanark County and Renfrew County.

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“Today, as part of the next step in our journey, we are excited to share our new name and host our first-ever events as United Way East Ontario. Equally, we’re here to celebrate some of the incredible community builders who show their love by helping tackle some of our communities’ most complex problems.”

Michael Allen, President and CEO, United Way East Ontario Tweet

In Ottawa, Mayor Jim Watson and United Way’s Volunteer Recognition Team representatives Stefan Keyes and Suzanne Pinel unveiled 21 new names on the Wall of Inspiration, including:

  • Elaina Martin, founder of the arts and culture festival WestFest
  • Kevin Waghorn, volunteer with the Carlington Community Association who organizes the Carlington Cup hockey tournament each year
  • Rawlson King, former President of the Overbrook Community Association and now city councillor for Rideau-Rockcliffe
  • The Ottawa Coalition of Community Houses, who were awarded “Community Builder of the Year” at United Way’s annual gala last May.
  • And 17 others.
Community Builders in Ottawa in front of the Wall of Inspiration

The Wall of Inspiration at Ottawa’s City Hall has been refreshed to reflect the organization’s new brand and work.

United Way East Ontario also added the names of local Community Builders to newly-unveiled “Walls of Inspiration” housed in L’Orignal, Pembroke, and Perth.

Prescott-Russell’s Wall of Inspiration was unveiled to feature past recipients of the La Lumière award, which was established in memory of Lucie Brunet, a community builder from Prescott-Russell. Liza Sutherland, a past recipient of the award, spoke at the event about the importance of giving back to the community and supporting those most in need. 

Community Builders Donna Davidson and Dennis Staples in front of to the new Wall of Inspiration.in Lanark County

In Lanark County, United Way celebrated the first ever Community Builders in the region, adding the names of Donna Davidson and Dennis Staples to the new Wall of Inspiration. Donna has volunteered with eight different provincial and local organizations, and, in her retirement, continues to work towards a more inclusive community. Dennis is a past councillor and mayor in Smiths Falls who now fundraises for local charities with his band.

United Way also honoured its first ever Community Builders in Renfrew County. Rolland and Lynne Kelly have long worked to enhance quality of life for seniors in Renfrew County. Rolland is the President of the Seniors Friendship Club, which connects isolated seniors to community activities; and Lynne volunteers with North Renfrew Long Term Care. Both are also fundraisers for the local hospital and youth programs, and dedicated volunteers at several local agencies.

“Every day, individuals and families in every corner of our region are finding it difficult to get by. Some face poverty. Others feel isolated. And many struggle with their mental health. These aren’t easy issues to solve—and they certainly can’t be solved by one person or organization alone. That’s why it’s such an honour to be surrounded here today by all of you—hundreds of people invested in the wellbeing of our communities.”

Michael Allen, President and CEO, United Way East Ontario Tweet
View more photos from all four events in our Facebook album
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