Town of Peace River selects 2020 volunteer awards
South Peace News
After a record number of nominations, the Town of Peace River has announced the winners of the 2020 volunteer awards.
Nominations for the volunteer awards were accepted in fall and the Community Services Advisory Board voted on the winners.
This year’s deserving winners are Hannah Taplin, Jodie Cooke, Cheryl Fitchie, and Leslie Ayre-Jaschke.
Other award nominees were Wendy Goulet, Donna Brunham, Lyn- den Waites, Graham Smyth, Carole Boucher, Kristy Jackman, Jody Bekevich, Jayme Griffith, and Darien D’Orsay.
Although due to the coronavirus pandemic the Town was not able to have its usual ceremony, the 13 nominations are the most ever nominated in the four years the awards have been running, which the Town says shows how important volunteers are in difficult times.
Also, while the winners are usually granted $500 to donate to a local non-profit or charity of their choice, the award was raised to $1,000 this year to help give more financial support to local non-profits impacted by the pandemic.
Hannah Taplin, winner of the Emerging Leader Award for a youth volunteer, has volunteered for 10 years. Some of her contributions include helping with the Adopt A Senior Christmas Hampers and the Peace River Welcomes Refugees fundraising dinner, volunteering as an assistant basketball coach, tutoring Math, and giving her time as an altar server and Sunday school helper among other things. She’s currently attending the University of Alberta [Augustana Campus].
Taplin chose the Out of the Cold Shelter as the recipient of her $1,000 donation.
Jodie Cooke, winner of the Community Recognition Award for volunteering in 2020, has spent 10 years as a volunteer with six of them in Peace River.
Cooke helps seniors with their errands, helps them get to appointments, brings pets to visit them at the Lodge, and fills birdfeeders through Seeds for Seniors. She also volunteers with the Servant’s Heart Initiative, Picnic in the Park, and the Salvation Army Kettle Drive.
Cooke decided to split her donation between the Servant’s Heart Initiative and the Salvation Army.
Cheryl Fitchie, winner of the Volunteer-of-the- Year Award, is a volunteer who has gone above and beyond in supporting the community throughout 2020. She has spent more than 22 years volunteering in the town of Peace River.
Fitchie has coordinated and organized volunteers to provide bagged lunches to be delivered to families in need, expanded assistance to families in need when the COVID pandemic started, and throughout the year, helped deliver hampers of essential supplies to seniors.
She has volunteered at the Toy Library for six years as the president, vice president and the treasurer, served in various executive positions over the past 12 years for the Peace River Winter Swim Club and various executive positions for the Peace River Gymnastics Club for five years.
Fitchie has volunteered as the chair of the Good Shepherd School Council for five years and created an after-school reading program there, served in different executive positions on the Glenmary School Council for five years, and bought gym shoes for kids in need.
She has also been a soccer coach for four years and a Sunday school teacher as well as helping helping moms get set up after they leave the Women’s Shelter.
Fitchie chose the Servant’s Heart Initiative as the recipient of her $1,000 donation.
Leslie Ayre-Jaschke, winner of the Lifelong Achievement Award, has spent 60 years as a volunteer with 40 of them in Peace River.
“I’m really honoured to receive this award,” she says.
“I don’t volunteer for recognition, since I get more out of volunteering than I put in, but it’s lovely when it comes. I’m grateful to the people who took the time to nominate me.
Ayre-Jaschke has served on boards and committees in in the Town of Peace River and school councils at Magrath, TA Norris and Peace River High School. She has volunteered with the Parent Resource Centre, Family Life Council Mother’s Support Group, Peace River Kindergarten Society, Peace River Childbirth Education Association, La Leche League, Peace Health Region Canada Prenatal Nutrition, and the Peace River Playgroup Society.
She has been chair of the Friends of the Peace River Municipal Library Society since January 2010, as well as director and board chair of the Peace River Municipal Library.
Some of the events she has volunteered with include the North Peace Music Festival of Performing Arts, Peace Fest, and the Peace River Pow Wow.
Ayre-Jaschke served as a member of Health Quality Council of Alberta’s Patient Family Advisory Committee from 2013-19, an Alberta Health Services Connect Care Patient Advisor in 2018, and is currently a citizen representative on the North Zone Primary Care Network Governance Committee and a public board member of the M.S.I. Foundation among other commit- ments.
Ayre-Jaschke chose the Friends of the Peace River Municipal Library Society as the recipient of her $1,000 donation.