BY NATE SMELLE
For the past 18 years, the Fonthill and District Kinsmen have honoured one very special local individual as Pelham’s Outstanding Citizen of the year. Now that they have wrapped up their series of annual Christmas events the club has set its sights on finding the 19th community member to join this elite group of honourees. Brian Iggulden is the Chair of the Citizen of the Year selection committee. The award is an important way for the club to express its gratitude, and to recognize someone from the community who gives of themselves to make the town a better place.
“We have had 18 great winners, and I am sure there will always be outstanding volunteers in Pelham,” said Iggulden.
“When we started this in 1998 we recognized a need to honour the people who give their time to serve others. Surely with the wealth of volunteers out there in our community there is an outstanding individual who deserves to be this year’s Citizen of the Year.”
The Fonthill and District Kinsmen Club has been working to serve the greatest needs of the community since it was first founded in 1951. Over the years, they have been regular supporters of Pelham Cares, Special Olympics, Pathstone Mental Health, Pelham Minor Sports Teams, the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and other local charities and organizations. The Club is also a supporter of the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Foster Parents Plan, the United Way and the Welland Hospital. The Kinsmen have also contributed to numerous local High School Scholarships.
“Until you have actually volunteered for your community in one way or another you don’t realize how rewarding it is,” said Iggulden.
“We just finished our Seniors Christmas Dinner where we fed more than 100 seniors. Before that we delivered 170 poinsettias to Extended Care at the Welland Hospital. For some of them that’s the only present they get, so it means a lot to people to know we care about them and our community.”
Last year’s winner was chair of the Summerfest committee, John Wink. Iggulden said Wink was a perfect selection because he embodies all of the qualities they are looking for in a Citizen of the Year.
“It’s nice for the community to know who these people are,” he said.
“It doesn’t have to be someone who is always in the media, it can be someone working behind the scenes. They can be a coach of a sports team or a member of another service club.”
The candidate must have a history of volunteerism and community activism, and must live or work in Pelham. They cannot be a sitting politician, nor a member of the Kinsmen Club. This year’s winner will be announced early in February and the award will be handed out at the Kinsmen’s annual dinner on Tuesday, March 7.
Submissions must be in writing and postmarked no later than Friday, Jan. 27. Submissions are to be sent to The Kinsmen Club of Fonthill and District, Box # 906 Fonthill, ON L0S 1E0.